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Full text of "A dreamer"

OF THE 
U N I VE.RSITY 
or ILLl NOI5 

V.3 



A DREAMER 



A DREAMER 



BY 



KATHARINE WYLDE 



IN THREE VOLUMES 

VOL. in. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

MDCCCLXXX 



V.3 



PART VI. 



STRANDED 

{CONTINUED) 



A DREAMER. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Philip never could remember how he lived 
through those few days. He had not been 
to his own house since Ralph's death ; he 
did not think of o:oinor to it now. He had 
no desire for food, or for rest, or for com- 
panionship. He wandered about through the 
streets, seldom pausing ; never thinking of 
where he was going. Sometimes he got out 
of the town, and walked for a while among 
villas and trees, but he always retraced his 
steps to the crowded thoroughfares, where 
he could more easily lose himself in the 
throng of strangers. Once he rescued a 



4 A DREAMER. 

child from being run over : once he stopped 
to pick up the overturned oranges from an 
old woman's stall : once he gave half-a-crown 
to a white - faced little girl bearing a large 
baby and leading a lame brother : once in 
the middle of the night a noise outside a 
gin -palace arrested him, and he watched a 
drunken party issue from it, shouting and 
quarrelling as they reeled to their homes, 
and he wondered, as he watched, if they 
were more miserable than he. He was only 
half conscious of it all at the time : afterwards 
he scarcely remembered it. He slipped for 
the most part unnoticed through the streets ; 
but now and then a pair of eyes would fol- 
low him curiously as he passed, and a whis- 
pered comment would almost reach his ear. 
He heeded nothing of this kind any more 
than he heeded the pelting rain or the search- 
ing wind. His thoughts were far away from 
the events passing before his eyes : he had 
other companionship than the troops of 
strangers around him. 

" Am I the wandering Jew, I wonder ? " 



STRANDED. 5 

he said to himself late at nlo^ht, as he leaned 

o 

over the parapet of one of the bridges and 
listened to the deep bell of Westminster strik- 
ing two : he was marvelling at the energy in 
his limbs which bore him onwards with no 
sense of fatigue after these long unresting 
hours. " Am I the spirit of perpetual youth ? 
Three such days are enough to age a man. 
But my hair is not, I think, turned white, and 
my arm is strong and nervous still. I could 
knock a man down with it, if need were. It 
is somethinof to find I can bear it." He 
walked on. 

•' Can I bear it ? " Philip asked himself next 
morning, sitting on a bench under the trees 
in Kensington Gardens. *' I thought so last 
night. I am not so sure now." He had 
stumbled once or twice lately ; and when 
wishing to find a favourite haunt In the 
garden, had lost his way in the well-known 
paths. He was becoming unable to rouse 
himself, and his knees shook beneath his 
weight. He had bought a roll in a baker's 
shop — the first food he remembered to have 



6 A DREAMER. 

thought of for many hours — and now he took 
it out to eat. But he did not taste it. Drop- 
ping it on the bench, he rose and crept along 
slowly — out of the gardens ; through the park ; 
down Oxford Street. The springing step was 
gone ; the head was bowed ; and he often 
stopped to recover his breath, or to rest his 
weary limbs. He gave more heed than he 
had done yesterday to the other foot-pas- 
sengers, and to the vehicles on the crossings ; 
yet he was less successful in avoiding them. 
He narrowly escaped an omnibus once, and 
he jostled against other people again and again. 
Curious gazes followed him oftener ; and more 
than once he was abused and ridiculed. Philip 
scarcely heeded the laugh or the angry words, 
though his lagging steps may for a moment 
have pressed onward with greater vigour. 

He was breaking down, and he knew it; 
but he had a purpose in his wandering now, 
and a purpose brought a faint sense of relief. 
He would take the good doctor's advice. He 
would go home. 

Arrived at the station, he found just enough 



STRANDED. 7 

money in his pocket to pay for a third-class 
ticket. He handed it to the clerk, making no 
attempt to count it, and received back four- 
pence. Then he made his way to the train, 
and entered a crowded carriage, where was 
one vacant corner. All day he sat there, 
scarcely turning his head, and not hearing 
the voices of the other travellers. When 
the train reached his destination, the guard 
came to see that he got out. He knew Philip 
by sight — for he was an inhabitant of the town, 
and a member of Mr Temple's congregation — 
and thought there was something " odd-looking 
about the young gentleman." 

Tired before, Philip was still more tired after 
the hard seat and the long confinement. It was 
late, and the night was cold and dark. He did 
not think of a fly, but set out to walk to his home. 

Perhaps he missed the way ; perhaps it was 
only the slowness of weakness that kept him so 
long on the road. It seemed interminable. 
Once he sat down on a doorstep in despair of 
getting further, then rose and dragged himself 
onwards. 



8 A DREAMER. 

Mr Temple was sitting alone in his study ; 
his wife and all the servants had gone to bed. 
He had been writing his sermon for the next 
Sunday, but the pen had fallen from his hand, 
and he was gazing sadly into the low fire and 
thinking of his son. He had heard nothing of 
Philip since the young man's sharp, angry note 
had come in answer to his remonstrating letter. 
He believed him to be still in Florence amus- 
ing himself and doing mischief. Mr Temple 
had often sat there before his fire, thinking 
sorrowfully of his only son. 

There came a low ring to the hall-door — so 
low that no one in the house but Mr Temple 
heard it. Late rings were common in the 
house of the benevolent clergyman, and they 
were often diffident and low. 

Mr Temple went to the window and peered 
out upon the steps. He saw a man's figure, 
bowed and shaking ; he saw a ghastly hand 
holding on to the area rail. Mr Temple went 
to the door. He never turned any one away 
till he had heard his business, and this poor 
fellow seemed in need of help. He opened the 



STRANDED. 9 

door. The young man staggered — almost fell 
— then recovered himself and spread out sup- 
plicating hands, while his hollow eyes looked 
beyond his father's face out into the dark 
vacancy behind. 

*' My child ! " exclaimed Mr Temple, drawing 
him in his arms. 

'* Let me come in, father," said Philip. 

Mr Temple brought him into the study, 
and Philip sank on his knees before the fire, 
spreading out his hands to the warmth while 
he leaned against his father's supporting arms. 
Presently Mr Temple reached down a bottle 
of wine and made him swallow two glasses of 
it. Then he drew his arm round him again. 

'' Ralph Lindsay is dead, father," said Philip, 
and made no other explanation. 

Mr Temple asked no questions. He had 
begun to know his boy's nature better lately. 
But he got him some food and warmed him at 
the fire, and at last helped him to his bed, and 
sat beside him till Philip slept the long, heavy 
sleep which he sorely needed. 



10 



CHAPTER V. 

Oliver Temple sat one afternoon In an easy- 
chair by a sunny window. He was biting his 
nails and yawning over a newspaper. He 
looked at least ten years older than he was ; 
he was getting bald, and was fatter than any 
man under thirty has the right to be. 

Oliver was exceedingly tired, though he had 
done nothing of any Importance since he rose 
at nine o'clock. He felt chilly, and wished he 
might have a fire ; but the master of Salehurst 
had not courage to ask for one from any of his 
fine servants, and Agnes never found out his 
wishes on such matters. 

It was a very stupid newspaper, and the 
new books on the table beside him were very 
stupid too : the only one that Interested him 
in the least was too deep to read at present. 



STRANDED. II 

Agnes did not allow him to smoke in this 
room ; and any of the rooms where he might 
smoke were a long way off. 

He wished he knew some decent man whom 
he could ask down for a fortnight to amuse 
him ; but Agnes never liked his friends. 
Oliver did not wish to put one additional bar- 
rier between himself and the wife whom he 
had succeeded so thoroughly in estranging. 
He never expressed a wish on any small 
matter, and apparently Agnes had everything 
her own way ; but Oliver longed wistfully for 
his wife's affection, and Agnes regarded him 
with an aversion she made no attempt to con- 
ceal from him. He would have liked to be 
loved, poor Oliver ; and his popularity among 
strangers was a poor substitute for the bands 
of affection. 

At this moment Lily was in the room, play- 
ing with a new toy her father had given her. 
She had carried it off to the furthest corner, 
and would have gone away altogether had 
Oliver called her closer. He watched her 
from behind his stupid newspaper, and made 



12 A DREAMER. 

two or three faint and unsuccessful attempts to 
lure her to his side. But the bait he held out 
was not attractive, and he was afraid to venture 
on any stronger measures lest she should per- 
ceive his aim. Lily was a tall, pretty child, 
and her father enjoyed watching her. But he 
would have liked much better to have had her 
seated on his knee talking to him. Lily never 
sat on papa's knee, and never chattered to him 
about her dolls and pets. Uncle Philip (who, 
by the way, had not been to Salehurst for an 
immense time) had always been a great friend 
of Lily's. She would sit on his knee as long 
as he would allow it (Philip liked all children, 
but Lily was not a prime favourite), and would 
talk till he made her laugh by stuffing his fin- 
gers in his ears. Oliver wondered what Lily 
liked in Philip : he thought it must be the long 
stories he told her, and he bought a book of 
fairy tales himself that he might learn some for 
her benefit. But Lily would not listen to her 
father's fairy tales, though Oliver thought they 
were far more interesting than Philip's lucubra- 
tions. Something may have been wrong with 



STRANDED. I3 

his delivery, the poor father thought ; but he 
had not the energy to try and amend it, even 
if he had known how. Philip's manner, of 
course, was inimitable : Oliver could not have 
learned the trick of the far-away gaze and the 
low, dreamy voice ; nor could he have suddenly 
dropped his eyes on his auditor and said, with 
a smile, " And the reason of all that was quite 
plain you know, Lily," when he had arrived at 
the most puzzling part of the story. Oliver 
did not think the manner was very interesting, 
and he wondered why Lily should like it. 

But what had become of Philip now ? 
thought Oliver. He must have taken up some 
new fad ; for he had been an immense time 
at the parsonage, though it was notorious that 
he and his father disagreed on all subjects; 
and now his little house in Kensington was 
going to be sold. A very odd fellow, that 
Philip. Perhaps he thought of emigrating. 

Suppose Oliver were to invite him for a 
few days ? Agnes was always glad to see 
Philip, and in some ways he was really amus- 
ing enough. 



14 A DREAMER. 

Thus far had Oliver got in his thinking that 
sunny afternoon, when Agnes suddenly entered, 
looking pale and agitated. 

*' I want to speak to you, Oliver," she said ; 
" attend to me for a few moments, If you 
please." 

Oliver laid down the newspaper and looked 
at his wife. Signs of feeling were unusual on 
her placid, beautiful face ; but emotion was 
clearly Imprinted on It now. Oliver disliked 
it : there was only one feeling he wished to 
see on Agnes's brow, and that feeling was 
always conspicuous by its absence. Other 
emotions — emotions he did not share — an- 
noyed him. 

*' What's the matter ? " he said, peevishly. 

" I have heard something,'' continued Agnes, 
" that has distressed me exceedingly. I must 
go to London at once." 

" What's the matter ? " repeated Oliver, this 
time scornfully ; but Agnes was too much 
agitated to care for his mood. 

"That poor little Griselda," she said, her 
lip quivering slightly ; " she Is in London — ill, 



STRANDED. 1 5 

and among strangers. It seems she was 
engaged to a Mr Lindsay, and he has died. 
And Oliver, my uncle is dead. He was drowned 
at Florence after she had come to England. 
I must go to Griselda at once." 

Oliver had risen, showing some appear- 
ance of interest. *' Your uncle dead, Agnes ? 
Drowned ? I don't believe it. Where have 
you got all this from ? " 

" From Mr Benson. He met Griselda acci- 
dentally, happening to know the people she 
is with. It all occurred more than a month 
ago, while we were in Paris. I can't think 
why Griselda did not tell me." 

'' That confounded old Benson is always 
meddling in our affairs," said Oliver. " I should 
like to wring his neck. Well, if you got it 
from him, I suppose it is true ; and I suppose 
also he knew it ages ago, and chose to keep 
us in the dark for some reason. You can pfo 
and buy your mourning to-morrow for your 
highly creditable relation." 

*' He was a great deal better than we," said 
Agnes, sharply ; and her agitation showed it- 



l6 A DREAMER. 

self in this speech, for it was not her custom 
to fling useless taunts at her husband. 

" I am glad he is dead," said Oliver. '' You 
will now perhaps cease to think he has a 
claim on you." 

*' A claim, Oliver ? Of course he had a 
claim on us, and of course the claim descends 
to his orphan daughter ! You never allowed 
me to satisfy his claim. I intend to satisfy 
hers." 

" And how, pray ? " 

" How ? I shall find a way. I cannot bear 
this, Oliver. You are utterly callous yourself 
to right and wrong ; I am not, and I will not 
be longer ground down by you." 

'* You were not callous to right and wrong, 
I suppose, when you took your uncle's pro- 
perty ? " 

'' I wish I had not done so. I wish I had 
done what /le wished, and what my conscience 
told me was right," cried Agnes. 

-He? Who?" 

'' Philip. I wish I had married Philip." 

** This is a sudden change in the conversa- 



STRANDED. 1 7 

tlon, Agnes," said Oliver, gravely ; ** it is 
rather late now to wish you had married 
Philip/' 

" I know it is late — much too late. That 
does not prevent me from wishing it. He 
said his love would be worth keeping. Yours 
is not, Oliver. You have degraded me." 

"Did Philip love you? He parted from 
you very lightly. He would not have been 
the faithful lover I have been, my dear," said 
Oliver, contemptuously. '' I wonder, Agnes," 
he continued, as she burst into tears, " that 
you have not more pride than to be so melo- 
dramatic. I don't care a pin about your ad- 
miration for Phil — who does not care two 
sticks for you now, whatever he may have 
done once ; but I recommend you to keep it 
to yourself It is such a dignified position," 
said Oliver, tauntingly, "to be hankering for 
years after a man who jilted you, when you 
are married to another too ! " 

They had both of them forgotten Lily ; she 
had partially hidden herself behind a curtain, 
but now she suddenly came out of her corner 

VOL. III. B 



l8 A DREAMER. 

and confronted them. Both father and mother 
stood shamefaced before her. Oliver, who 
had preserved a perfectly calm exterior, was 
really almost as much agitated as Agnes. She 
had never verbally confessed her hatred of 
him before, and the confession seemed to 
deepen the sting Oliver felt in her dislike. 

" Go up-stairs, Lily," said Agnes, presently, 
" and do not repeat a word of what you have 
heard." 

" I never repeat things, mamma," answered 
Lily, a precocious, critical child. She looked 
at them both with cold dislike, and slowly 
went out of the room, dragging an old doll by 
one arm, but leaving her father's beautiful 
present on the floor. She was glad to escape. 
The conversation, which she barely understood, 
was highly repugnant to her. Lily went up- 
stairs grandly and ordered her tea. She said 
no word to any one, but she was too much 
annoyed with her parents to care about her 
playthings that night. A strange child was 
Lily, with possibilities of good in her unde- 
veloped and even thwarted. 



STRANDED. 19 

After the little girl's egress, neither husband 
nor wife spoke at once. Presently Oliver 
resumed, in a quieter tone — 

*' Then do you suppose, Agnes, that our 
dear Philip knows all the circumstances under 
which you rule here ? " 

" Oliver," said Agnes, coldly, " you know 
very little of Philip if you suppose he would 
ever speak to us again once he knew that my 
father and luc plotted to defraud my uncle. 
No ; I scarcely understood his view at the 
time : it seemed to me hardly sensible. He 
knew no more than the rest of the world ; yet 
he wanted me to give up all." 

" Then, my dear, his view was not sensible," 
said Oliver. 

" Sensible or not, it was a very noble view," 
returned Agnes ; " I wish I had appreciated it 
then as I do now. Then I should not have 
been the woman I am : then I should have 
been clear of you. I might have loved my 
husband and my children then. And I should 
not have seen Griselda desolate and miser- 
able." 



20 A DREAMER. 

'' Yes," said Oliver ; " and Philip would not 
have fallen In love with Griselda, I suppose." 

'* Oliver, you have no right to speak of 
Philip — you understand him so little. How 
could you understand him ? His spirit Is far 
above ours." 

" Really ? Then you should be very thank- 
ful you did not marry him. He would have 
hated you In a week. Griselda is much more 
suited to him than you, Agnes," said Oliver. 

'* It was all nonsense about Griselda and 
Philip," replied Agnes ; " she was engaged to 
some one else." 

*' That is no reason why Phil should not 
have fallen In love with her. I knew all about 
her engagement long ago. The man Lindsay 
was at Cambridge with me — a very decent 
sort of a fellow. I daresay she never meant 
to marry him. Possibly she found Philip as 
interesting as you appear to do." 

'' I repeat, you know nothing of Philip." 

'' Perhaps not a great deal. I never found 
him Interesting. But Griselda may like him 
for all that, as much as he likes her. You 



STRANDED. 2 1 

are not pleased with him for liking Griselda, 
Agnes ? '' 

'' I have no feeling on the subject. Since I 
heard of her engagement, I know there can 
have been nothing between her and Philip.'' 

*' Why not ? Phil refused to steal her pro- 
perty, but I daresay he had no objection to 
stealing herself. But did I hear you say Lind- 
say was dead ? " 

'' Yes." 

" Then the way is open for Phil, and having 
had the romance he may save his conscience 
at the final moment." 

" How little you know him ! " said Agnes, 
sighing. 

" Upon my word, you are most sentimental. 
Look here, I was going to invite this interest- 
ing gentleman to pay us a visit. You will be 
glad to see him." 

*' I don't suppose he will come." 

" Probably not, as he does not care a button 
for either of us," said Oliver ; "but for once I 
shall urge him. I want to hear his adventures 
with the singing girl. If you wish to bring her 



22 A DREAMER. 

here, Agnes, It might be Interesting to see 
them together." 

" My cousin — the singing girl, as you call 
her — Is not likely to care for strangers at pres- 
ent. I hear these two blows have nearly killed 
her. I am going to her at once, Oliver." 

"Not till to-morrow. It is too late to do 
anything to-night, and I do not wish It. And 
Agnes, I won't have you make any absurd fuss 
about her claim on us. You had better not set 
people talking ; though for that matter, you 
seem to have lost all sense of prudence in 
speaking as you did before Lily." 

'' Lily will repeat nothing," said Agnes, 
colouring. 

" Very likely not ; but I should prefer your 
not choosing her for a confidant. The whole 
interview has been a mistake, Agnes, and I 
beg you will not give me a second edition of it. 
Melodrama is not suited to your style." After 
a pause, he continued : ''If you want to bring 
Griselda here, you can write to or see her to- 
morrow. She is very well-behaved, I believe, 
and is very pretty, and much more civil to 



STRANDED. 23 

me than you are. But remember, you shall 
do a cousin's part to her and nothing more. 
You shall put no ideas Into her head, nor Into 
any other head." 

Agnes made no attempt at rejoinder. She 
sailed away with as much dignity as usual, but 
feeling more than ever cowed by her husband. 
It was no wonder she disliked Oliver. 

Left alone, he forgot his letter to Philip, 
towards whom, however, he felt no increased 
enmity. He gathered up the little girl's dis- 
carded toy, and fingered it sadly ; then re- 
solved to throw It away on the earliest oppor- 
tunity. Connected with it was an ignominious 
sense of failure ; It had not drawn Lily to him, 
and It was of no more use. She would not 
mark its disappearance. 

But the lonely father sent a message to his 
little daughter, asking her if she would like to 
ride with him. This was the one means he 
had of securing her companionship, for Lily 
liked riding ; and when her father gave her the 
tiny white pony, for which he had searched 
with unwearied diligence till he had found the 



24 A DREAMER. 

right one, he made it the condition of the 
present that she was to ride with himself only. 
The child's tender age made an excuse for the 
condition, and Oliver often thought sadly, that 
as she grew older he might have to waive it. 

Yet, as they rode together — the father 
watching her assiduously, suiting his pace to 
hers, and choosing her favourite lanes — Lily 
was not an interesting companion. She did 
not talk to him, and she concealed all her 
pleasure in the pony, her father's gift. He had 
to guess it from her heightened colour, and 
from the fact that she would not return till 
he commanded her to do so. When he 
had lifted her from the saddle, Lily at once 
ran in without bestowing a glance on him. 
Oliver followed her slowly and alone. His 
wife was crossing the hall as he passed, but 
she turned away from him without a word. 

But he heard her telling Lily that her father 
had kept her out too long, and that she would 
probably have to put a stop to these rides 
altogether. 



CHAPTER VI. 

After sleeping on a matter, it seldom appears 
so important as it did before. When Agnes 
rose on the following morning, she felt a little 
ashamed of the emotion her cousin's hapless 
condition had called forth in her. She did not 
leave Salehurst till near twelve o'clock, and in 
London she busied herself with various matters 
before setting out for Dr Henslow's house. It 
was growing dusk when she reached it — a cir- 
cumstance that annoyed herself, for she had 
not intended to be so late. It looked indif- 
ferent, Agnes fancied. 

Dr Henslow's servant, on opening the hall- 
door, seemed somewhat astonished at the 
magnificent lady's appearance, for the house 
was In a quiet neighbourhood, and most of the 
doctor's patients were dull enough outwardly. 



26 A DREAMER. 

Agnes asked for Griselda, and hinted at a wish 
to see Miss Henslow also. She was shown 
into the drawing-room, where she waited with 
some impatience. Presently Jessie appeared. 

" Our dear little Griselda tells me you are 
her cousin," began Jessie. 

" Exactly," said Agnes, graciously. " How 
is Miss Mortimer ? " 

" Well, she is much better," answered Jessie 
— " much better. She will be down in a mo- 
ment. She has been lying on the sofa; we 
try to make her sleep just at this time ; she 
sleeps so badly at night." 

" Perhaps I am disturbing her," said Agnes, 
half wishing the visit could be deferred. 

" Oh no, Mrs Mortimer. She was not 
asleep ; she wanted to get up before. It will 
do her good to see a relation. She often 
seems so lonely." 

*' I was shocked to hear of her circum- 
stances," said Agnes, apologetically ; " I am 
sorry to tell you I knew nothing about her 
till yesterday. How is it, I wonder, that I was 
never told ? " 



STRANDED. 27 

" Poor child, she was too much upset at first 
to give us any address but her father's. You 
have heard about him, I suppose ? " 

** Yes, indeed. Miss Henslow; but very few 
particulars. I am afraid he " 

"He had been gambling — that is all appears 
to be known. It is best I should tell you — 
Griselda will not like to talk of it — and seems 
to have fallen into the river on his way home. 
He was very much in debt, and I am afraid 
his poor little daughter will find herself in 
great poverty. But they say he had money 
about him when he left the place where he had 
been spending the evening, and though his 
body was found, the money was not. Some 
people think he may have been robbed ; my 
father thinks not : he fancies the money was 
lost in the river. Mr Benson has investigated 
it all, but says no more can be ascertained. 

" I wonder I heard nothing of it," said 
Agnes. " How kind you have been to Gris- 
elda, Miss Henslow! Dr Henslow will under- 
stand, of course, that I am prepared to dis- 
charge all obligations " 



28 A DREAMER. 

" Oh, thank you," stammered Jessie ; "please 
do not think of It. We should gladly have 
done more, a great deal, without any thought 
of — of remuneration. But, indeed, we need 
not have been at any expense. Please do not 
speak of It to Griselda ; but there Is some one, 
whose name we do not know, and whom she 
seems to dislike exceedingly, I don't know 
why, who has Insisted on paying my father 
most liberally. We are very much distressed 
about It, and would return the money If we 
knew the gentleman's name and address. 
Griselda will not speak of him; and. Indeed, 
this is the reason she would not write to you : 
she said you were connected with him. But 
my father saw him at poor Mr Lindsay's 
funeral, and liked him. We cannot imagine 
how he can have offended Griselda." 

Agnes made no reply. She could not help 
guessing who the mysterious gentleman was, 
but the story puzzled her. 

'* I think I will go and see what Griselda is 
doing," said Miss Henslow, rising, *'If you will 
excuse me." 



STRANDED. 29 

" Pray, tell her," said Agnes, " with my love, 
that I shall be quite happy to come on another 
day if she should prefer it." 

Left by herself, Mrs Temple Mortimer 
shivered unaccountably. She dreaded this 
interview with her cousin. Agnes had never 
understood Griselda, and she felt her more 
than ever Incomprehensible now. A person 
made 111 by sorrow was a mystery to Agnes. 
She dimly felt that such a circumstance would 
be an Impossibility to her. Griselda's power 
of feeling annoyed and perplexed Agnes ; she 
could not share it. Yet she felt she ought to 
do so. Oliver made no pretence of caring 
when he did not care ; but it was part of 
Agnes's scheme of life to seem to care a great 
deal. The seeming, however, was Irksome. 

Mrs Mortimer left her seat and paced rest- 
lessly up and down the room, waiting for 
Griselda. 

'' When did I see her last ? " said Agnes to 
herself ; and thought returned to a gay even- 
ing in Florence, not much more than a year 
ago. She remembered a little white - robed 



30 A DREAMER. 

figure ; an animated smile ; sparkling eyes ; 
delicately - flushed cheeks. She remembered 
admiring surrounders and some remarks she 
had made herself as she drove to the hotel. 
A bar from one of Griselda's brightest songs 
came into her mind, and she hummed it 
thoughtlessly while she waited and 'remem- 
bered. Just then the door opened and Gris- 
elda entered. Agnes started and looked at 
her. Her heart throbbed, and unexpected 
tears filled her eyes. 

Was it Griselda ? So still ; so faded ; so 
changed : the sunny curls gone ; the bright 
eyes dim and hollow ; the graceful frame worn 
to a shadow ; the once tripping, impulsive 
step, slow now, and languid ? 

There fell from the darkening sky too little 
light to illuminate this mournful figure. Agnes 
only saw clinging folds of black, and a pale, 
still face, with deep eyes, sorrowfully large, 
but quiet and tearless. 

'' Griselda ! " exclaimed Agnes, " my poor 
child ! " She drew nearer, put her arms 
round her, and kissed her. 



STRANDED. 31 

Griselda submitted in silence, and then sat 
down on a low seat by the empty fireplace. 

*' It is kind of you to come, Agnes," said 
Griselda, presently. 

" Dear child, why did I not know before 
that you were here ? I should have come 
sooner." 

" Thank you. Why should I have sent to 
you, Agnes ? I am very unhappy." 

" And I am such a bad comforter ? " said 
Agnes, sadly, and with a touch of bitterness. 

" No one can comfort me. That is not 
what I meant, Agnes. You would have done 
your best. Jessie has done her best. She 
has been very, very kind. It was easier 
being with strangers, Agnes, who knew 
nothing about it." 

" But I know nothing about it, Griselda, 
and that is precisely what pains me so. I 
wish you would trust me and tell me all." 

*' There is nothing to tell. I could not talk 
about it. It is all sacred and horrible. I 
shall always be unhappy, Agnes. I have 
done wrong." 



32 A DREAMER. 

'' Darling, don't say that. We have all done 
wrong." Agnes's proud head drooped. She 
was feeling keenly just then that she had done 
wrong. 

'' I am punished," said Griselda. 

'' But, dear, we are not to think ourselves 
specially punished when God sends us great 
trouble. Don't you remember what the Bible 
says about " 

" Oh, why does every one quote the Bible 
to me ? " exclaimed Griselda. " I don't want 
to hear It. I want to hear what God says to 
7ne, not what He said to Peter and John. I 
am not at all like Peter and John. Agnes, I 
should hate to think It Is not punishment. I 
have been wicked ; and if God did not punish 
me, I should fancy He did not care about me, 
or think about me at all." 

Agnes was silent. Was her punishment 
coming too ? She took Griselda's hand In 
hers, and the girl saw tears in her cousin's 
eyes. But Agnes was thinking of herself 
more than of Griselda. They could not 
reach each other's hearts. They were both 



STRANDED. 33 

punished, suffering women, but Agnes was in 
a different world from the desolate child be- 
side her. They could not join hands and 
seek the light together. 

Agnes did not stay long. The interview 
was too painful. Before leaving she invited 
Griselda to Salehurst. Then the girl rose 
and stood before her cousin with a flush on 
each thin cheek. She spoke gravely and dis- 
tinctly. Agnes had pressed her a good deal 
before she had given any gesture of assent. 

" Agnes, thank you ; you are very kind. 
And you are my relation. Perhaps I ought 
to go. I can't sing just now, even if I could 
bear to go back to the old life yet. And did 
Mr Benson tell you, Agnes ? I am just a sort 
of pauper at present. I have no money, and 
all my things have been sold to pay papa's 
creditors. That is all right, and I will soon 
get back to my work : I am getting on. I 
shall make plenty of money. But meanwhile 
— yes, Agnes, I will ask you to lend me some. 
You are my relation." She stopped for a 
moment, the flush deepening. 

VOL. III. c 



34 A DREAMER. 

Agnes was flushed also. She felt ashamed 
that Grlselda should speak to her thus. What 
riorht had she to wealth, and this child to 
poverty ? Then arose the cold fear of her 
husband in the background of her thoughts. 
Griselda, having nerved herself for the effort, 
continued — 

" Agnes, there Is one thing you must pro- 
mise me if I go to Salehurst. I must not see 
Mr Philip Temple : you must not tell him I 
am there, or ever tell him one thing about me. 
You must promise this, Agnes." 

" Why, Grlselda, I thought you and Philip 
were such friends. What is the meaning of 
this ? " 

*' Promise me, Agnes. Never mind the 
meaning." 

" Griselda," said Agnes, suddenly, " was 
Philip ever rude to you in any way ? " 

" Rude ? I don't know what you mean. 
Mr Temple Is not rude. But I never wish 
to see him again, Agnes. I can't come to 
Salehurst unless you promise.'' Grlselda spoke 



STRANDED. 35 

with earnestness, but it was the ghost of her 
old vehemence. 

''Very well, Griselda — of course, if you 
wish. But I can't understand it. I think you 
must be misjudging Philip Temple. You do 
not know, Griselda," said Agnes, ''what a 
good man he is." 

Griselda had turned pale again. Agnes 
withdrew, fearing she had tired her. 



36 



CHAPTER VII. 

When Jessie Henslow came In, Griselda was 
still sitting in the low chair by the empty fire- 
place, her head drooping on her hand. Jessie 
bore a lamp, and brought a general air of 
cheerfulness into the room. 

" You were glad to see your cousin, I am 
sure," she said, standing behind Griselda, and 
playing with one little escaping curl on her 
forehead. Griselda leaned back, and turned 
her eyes to her friend's kind face. 

'' Rather." 

" Aren't you very fond of her ? I thought 
she looked so sweet and beautiful. I wished 
she were my cousin." 

'' How odd it must be," said Griselda, 
meditating, " that way of taking a great fancy 
to people when you see them first! I am 



STRANDED. 37 

afraid I generally hate people till I have 
seen them several times." 

" Do you ? I hope you don't hate me ? " 
" I know you very well now," said Griselda. 
Jessie laughed ; and Griselda added, apolo- 
getically, *'You know, Jessie, I am very, very 
fond of you. But about Agnes, — I don't know 
her very well. You see she is very rich, and 
I hadn't a great deal to say to her. We were 
always her poor relations, and I don't think 
she thought us quite respectable. And she 
has been married a long time, and her hus- 
band is a lazy kind of man, who thinks a great 
deal of himself. At least, / think he does. I 
don't like him." 

" But she is charming, is she not ? " 
** Yes — so people seem to think. I don't 
know what it is about her, but — Jessie, she 
says I am to go and stay with her." 
"I shall be so lonely without you." 
'* I like being with you much better. But, 
you know, Dr Henslow said I ought to go to 
the country for change ; and I really must try 
to get strong because of my singing. I think 



38 A DREAMER. 

my voice is better to-day. Will you listen, 
please, Jessie, and tell me what you think ? I 
must not be idle longer than I can help, you 
know, and I do so want to be able to sing 
again." 

" I am afraid it will be some time," said 
Jessie, not very lucidly, as Griselda seated 
herself before the piano. She played for a 
few minutes thoughtfully, then stopped sud- 
denly, and turned round. 

"Jessie, do you know what that Mr Benson 
told me ? He said that there is no money at 
all left for me, and even a few of papa's debts 
are standing over. I had no idea he was so 
much in debt. But there is no good in going 
back on that now. It is dreadful, Jessie, par- 
ticularly as I don't see any chance of being 
able to work for a good while yet. One can't 
sing without quite a strong voice. And though 
Agnes — will take care of me, I don't like to be 
dependent." 

" Don't trouble about it, Griselda. You may 
be sure the Lord will provide.'' 

" But I don't like being provided for," said 



STRANDED. 39 



Griselda, crossly, and then she began to sing. 
Her voice was sweet as ever, but low and 
tremulous. 

Dr Henslow came in while she was sing- 
ing, but she did not notice him. He glanced 
at his daughter, putting his finger on his lips. 
Presently he shook his head thoughtfully, and 
Jessie's eyes filled. 

" Better this evening, little woman ? " said 
Dr Henslow, when Griselda had at last per- 
ceived him. 

''Yes; don't you think it is better?" said 
she, anxiously. 

'* I mean you, yourself. What are you talk- 
ing about ? " said he, smiling and taking her 
hand in his. "Jess, she is pale and shaky 
to-night. What's the matter with her ? " 

" No, I am not," said Griselda, gravely. 
" I am getting well. I have had a visitor 
to-day. Jessie, tell Dr Henslow about 
Agnes." 

" Such a charming woman ! " said Jessie, as 
Griselda went up-stairs, and left the father and 
daughter together. 



40 A DREAMER. 

A week passed, and then Griselda went to 
Salehurst. 

She did so somewhat unwillingly. Agnes 
had hinted that she ought not to remain a bur- 
den on these strangers any longer. 

** I don't believe Jessie thinks me a burden," 
Griselda muttered to herself; but still the 
argument carried weight. But Agnes went 
on to say that she had offered to pay Dr 
Henslow for his care and advice, but that he 
had refused to accept anything. Griselda was 
thinking over Jessie's kindness, and made no 
response for a minute. Then she exclaimed — 

*' Jessie is the dearest, kindest person I have 
ever known ! " 

Agnes felt jealous and annoyed. She said, 
with a touch of spite — 

*' Of course, I am the person who ought to 
have paid them for their trouble. It is tire- 
some to be forestalled in this way." 

*' What do you mean ? " cried quick-witted 
Griselda, with a look of so much alarm and 
anger, that Agnes was frightened, and ex- 
plained unwillingly — 



STRANDED. 41 

" Miss Henslow told me some one had sent 

her father money " but Griselda fled from 

the room, waiting to hear no more. 

That evening she threw her arms round 
Jessie's neck and whispered — 

" Jessie, tell me something. Did that — that 
person send money to you for my board and — 
all that ? " 

*' Yes, indeed, Griselda ; we were sorry, for 
we never thought of payment, darling. I wish 
you would tell us his name that we might send 
it back." 

" Oh, Jessie, you must not keep it. I would 
rather Agnes — Jessie, listen. I don't mind 
beings beholden to you, but I can't be behold- 
en to him for anything. I can't accept any- 
thing from him. Please give it to me that I 
may send it back ; or perhaps I will tell you his 
name. He would know my writing, I am afraid." 

'' That will be much better, Griselda. Papa 
has been longing to get rid of it. But we must 
write and explain why." 

" No, no, Jessie. That would hurt him. 
You must not say a word about me." 



42 A DREAMER. 

"Just, darling, that we are too fond of you 
to want payment." 

Grlselda sat down by the window, looking 
out and pinching her fingers. Presently she 
returned and knelt down before her friend, 
hiding her face in Jessie's lap. 

"Jessie, I have changed my mind. We 
won't send it back. It would hurt him very 
much. And though I don't like him, I don't 
want to hurt him. Can't you Imagine, Jessie, 
that if one had spoiled a person's life, one 
would not want to hurt him ? I did that, 
Jessie. I spoiled his life too. Don't ask me 
about it. I know you won't ; you never tease 
me with questions as Agnes does. Jessie, 
I had rather you didn't keep the money If 
you don't really want It. Please give It to 
the hospital where Dr Henslow attends. 
Will that do ? I could not bear to have 
Jmn hurt." 

" That will be a very good plan, I think, 
Grlselda," said Jessie. 

The next day found Grlselda at Salehurst. 
Sadly she arranged herself for dinner in the 



STRANDED. 43 

pretty black evening dress which Agnes had 
given her. She felt like a nun leaving her 
cloister to mix once more in the world, and 
would fain have run away and hidden herself. 

Oliver and Agnes had a little dispute about 
Griselda that evening, after the girl had gone 
to her room. 

*' She looks very ill," said Oliver. 

'' Yes," replied Agnes ; " she has quite lost 
her beauty." 

*' I don't agree with you," said her husband, 
quickly. 

Agnes raised her eyebrows. " You used not 
to admire Griselda," she said. 

" Griselda is not a handsome woman, like 
you," said Oliver : " she is too small, and at 
present too faded and melancholy. But she 
was exceedingly pretty. You will not find 
any man to deny that. Women don't admire 
prettiness, I believe." 

*' It is rather a feeble quality," said Agnes. 

'' Very likely ; but when I saw Griselda last, 
she was more than pretty : she was beautiful. 
What she has lost now is some of the pretti- 



44 A DREAMER. 

ness, not the beauty. I am afraid, after all, 
it was the prettiness you admired, Agnes." 

'* I have always found it difficult to under- 
stand a gentleman's idea of beauty," said 
Agnes, coldly. 

Oliver lauorhed. " I wish I did not feel in 
Griselda's debt," pursued Agnes. 

'' Debt ! Nonsense." 

" It is not nonsense. We are in her debt. 
I should like to pay her." 

*' Would you indeed ? " 

" You only care whether she is pretty or 
not. I think it is of much greater importance 
that she is poor, and ill, and wretched, and 
that we " 

" Have stolen her goods, I suppose. Now 
listen to me, Agnes. You are a perfect fool 
about this girl. You don't like her ; you are 
jealous of her ; you would have been much 
relieved if she had died conveniently and 
decently last month. And yet you go tor- 
menting yourself, and tormenting me, and 
puzzling her, by this idiotic idea that you 
ought to make her some restitution. I told 



STRANDED. 45 

you last week how you were to treat her; 
and if you bother any more with your con- 
founded regrets and penitences and scruples, 
by Jove! I'll pack her out of the house to- 
morrow. Why can't you accept things as 
they are ? She is your cousin ; and she is 
poor, and has been unfortunate, and we are 
happily in a position to assist her. Let things 
stand on that their most natural and sensible 
foundation, and everything is easy and simple 
enough. We are not called upon to like or 
dislike her unless we choose." 

" Oliver," said Agnes, " as long as I am tied 
to you, I am denied all possibility of repent- 
ance." 

" Pshaw ! You don't repent a bit. If I died 
to - morrow, you would do nothing decisive. 
You think yourself very remorseful and con- 
scientious, and I don't believe you know what 
conscience or remorse or repentance is — any 
more than I do." 

"Yes, Oliver; more than you do." 

" I wish to goodness you would learn to do 
without things you haven't got ! What's the 



46 A DREAMER. 

use of bothering for repentance and remorse 
and conscience when you have only the small- 
est quantity possible of any of the three ? I 
get on very well without them, and am a 
deuced deal more consistent than you." 

" I should be sorry to be you/' said Agnes, 
scornfully. 

" You are so much better yourself, aren't 
you ? " said Oliver. 

When Agnes had gone, Oliver talked to 
himself, which he only did In moments of 
agitation. 

'' I wish she would drop these Insane notions. 
We might be more comfortable together if she 
forgot her conscience. It Is very dull work as 
it is. I once thought " 

He checked himself with a cynical laugh. 



47 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Oliver Temple's was, as I have said, an exceed- 
ingly simple character. He was thoroughly 
selfish ; and he was almost absolutely con- 
scienceless. His best quality was that yearn- 
ing for domestic affection, which, though con- 
tinually thwarted, kept him a perfectly faithful 
husband and father. His power of loving was 
neither very strong nor very deep : he had 
probably never fallen in love during his life ; 
but he would have been affectionate and kind 
to any woman w^hom he had happened to have 
married, if she had shown him even the aver- 
age amount of love in return. He was neither 
affectionate nor kind to Agnes ; but this was 
her fault, and the state of affairs between them 
was a perpetual, though a well- hidden, grief 
to her husband. This domesticity had made 



48 A DREAMER. 

Oliver a favourite in his boyhood's home, and 
often now out of his dreary, loveless magnifi- 
cence, he looked back regretfully on the sim- 
pler days when he had been loved by, and 
had loved, parents and brethren. That old 
circle was broken up now. His two sisters 
were married and separated from him by long 
miles — one by a foreign husband and a foreign 
life. His parents and his only brother were 
dead. He had no one near and dear to him, 
but the wife and child who gave him no love. 

It seems to me that Oliver's nature was 
one to which no reformation was possible. 
Apparently Heaven thought so too, and had 
abandoned him — in this world, at any rate. 

" From him that hath not, shall be taken 
away even that which he seemeth to have." 
The love of wife or daughter might have 
awakened germs of improvement in him. He 
had it not. 

But Oliver's need for affection made him 
very kind to Griselda while she stayed with 
her cousins. She disliked him, and his kind- 
ness was wearisome to her ; but her natural 



STRANDED. 49 

courtesy prevented her from being anything 
but grateful to him, and from doing aught but 
her best to respond to his efforts. Even this 
much kindness was cheering to Oliver. 

Perhaps Griselda prefeg-ed him to Agnes, 
In whose kindness there was effort and painful 
concealment. Oliver found no difficulty in his 
Intercourse with Griselda, but Agnes's guilty 
conscience made her stiff and unnatural. Be- 
sides, as Oliver had said, Agnes did not like 
Griselda personally, and the perpetual strain- 
ing after Increased affection for her was irk- 
some to herself and poisonous to her kindness. 
Griselda never felt at her ease with Agnes. 

After being at Salehurst for more than a 
month, her cousin took Griselda to the Isle of 
Wight for bathing and change. By degrees 
she grew stronger, and a faint colour returned 
to her cheeks. She could walk for some dis- 
tance, and could rise early and sit up late — with 
difficulty, It is true, but without evident ill 
effects. Oliver had put her on horseback, and 
her daily canter in Salehurst Park, or after- 
wards along the pleasant, breezy sands, con- 

VOL. III. D 



50 A DREAMER. 

trlbuted, perhaps more than anything else, to 
her health's restoration. 

But the old tripping step was gone; the 
rippling laugh and the bell-like voice had been 
silenced ; the glanaour and the sparkle that 
used once to shine forth unexpectedly from 
her demurely quiet exterior, had vanished 
with the golden curls and the softly-coloured 
dresses. In the slow-moving, languid maiden, 
with downcast eyes and seldom-opening lips, 
few would have recognised the bewitching 
beauty of a year ago. 

The old days had gone never to return. If 
Griselda had picked up the broken threads of 
her life just where she had dropped them, and 
had gone back to her profession with no break 
in it beyond a few weeks' absence, marked by 
a double bereavement, she could never have 
regained her former position. She might have 
thrown herself into her work with untlrlnof 
energy, and have climbed to the top of the 
ladder whereof the first rung had wellnigh 
terrified her ; but the world and Its pomps and 
vanities would have small attraction henceforth 



i 



STRANDED. 5 1 

for her ; nor would it, perhaps, have cared to 
caress and flatter her as once it had done. 

Griselda was not so tried. Another sorrow 
had fallen upon her, that in a manner was her 
bitterest trial — a sorrow which had not merely 
shivered the present, but had shattered the 
future, and had turned the past into a recollec- 
tion wholly dissevered from her life of to-day. 

Griselda had lost her voice. 



U BRAKY 

UNIVERSITY OF iLLlNOt* 



52 



CHAPTER IX. 

She had prayed for it once. During her short 
and troubled Hfe, Griselda had prayed many 
a fooHsh prayer for the granting of some 
earthly wish the true nature of which she un- 
derstood not. "Ye know not what ye ask," 
said our Lord to two of the apostles, and we 
who are less wise and good than were James 
and John, need often the same rebuke. Thank 
God that most of our prayers seem to fall 
forgotten ; or that prayer is a vain superstition 
— which is it ? 

Griselda had prayed two prayers at different 
times ; and it seemed to her that these alone 
of all her petitions had brought an answer. 
She was divided from Ralph ; her singing was 
stopped. As Griselda knelt in her worse than 



STRANDED. 53 

widowed solitude and looked out on the silent, 
joyless life before her, she prayed in bitterness 
another prayer : '*God, don't listen to me again 
when I ask for things ; don't give me anything 
I want because I ask for it. My prayer was 
heard and I am desolate.'' 

" They told me God was love," she cried 
to herself, wringing her hands and laying her 
forehead on the cold marble of the chimney- 
piece, abandoning herself with the more vehe- 
mence to her grief when alone, because in the 
sight of others she was so still and silent : 
''they told me God was love, but He does not 
love me. He does not want me to be better. 
I wanted to repent and be good, and He will 
not let me. I had been idle — but I would 
have worked with my life now. I wanted to 
be good to Ralph. I would have given my 
life for him. I would have been his slave, not 
for a week or a day, but for every hour of my 
life. God knew that. He knew I meant truly 
by Ralph at the last. And He would not let 
me. O God, am I so wicked as that, that I 
may not be made better ? " 



54 A DREAMER. 

" God has always persecuted me," she cried, 
another day. "He made me promise to do 
what He would not let me do, and now He 
punishes me for not doing it ; and when I tried 
to do it. He was angry. And He gave me 
a voice when I did not want it ; and when I 
was thankful and would have used it, He took 
it away. And He sent me a prophet who 
taught me wrong, and made me wicked ; and 
when I tried to follow what was good, He 
turned it all into misery, and made my teacher 
sin to me, so that I cannot think of him now 
without hating his very name. Ah, it was my 
fault ! " she cried. " My fault — not his. For- 
give me, Philip — you, too, forgive me. It was 
my fault ! " 

Griselda had been a week at Salehurst, and 
one evening she was singing in her low, weak- 
ened tones, fancying to herself that the long- 
expected improvement was coming. Oliver 
laid down his magazine and listened to her 
attentively, asking for several other songs, and 
watching her intently as she sang. 

'* Agnes," said he, later, " you must take that 



STRANDED. 55 

child to Dr Blackmore as soon as possible, and 
hear his opinion of her voice. I suspect there 
is something all wrong with it." 

Agnes made no remark ; but she obeyed, 
and the great doctor examined Griselda. 

On one of her subsequent visits to him, she 
was surprised to find not merely Dr Blackmore 
prepared to study her, but another strange 
physician and her old friend Dr Henslow. 
They all looked grave, and their examination 
was very minute. 

Dr Henslow patted her kindly on the 
shoulder, and told her Jessie expected her to 
tea. After a few words with Agnes, he put 
her into the carriage and sent her to his home 
to spend a few hours there, till her cousin 
should call for her. 

The three doctors retired for a consulta- 
tion, and Mrs Mortimer waited to hear their 
opinion. 

" I am sorry to say it, madam," said Dr 
Blackmore to her at last : " Miss Mortimer 
will improve in health and strength, I trust ; 
but she will never sing again." 



S6 A DREAMER. 

"You mean — you mean — she will sing no 
more than she can at present ? " 

" She may, with time and health — she may 
recover her voice to a great extent. But from 
a professional point of view, I fear it will be of 
but little use to her." 

" What will she do ? " exclaimed Agnes, 
involuntarily ; for all Griselda's hopes had 
centred in her music, and Mrs Mortimer 
dreaded the coming blank for her. 

" I hope," said Dr Henslow, bluntly, " my 
young friend is not pecuniarily dependent on 
her exertions." 

" Certainly not," said Agnes, proudly ; " she 
shares my home, of course. But she is de- 
voted to her profession. Is she to be told 
this now, Dr Blackmore ? " 

'' There is no use in buoying her up with 
false hopes," answered the doctor, gravely. 

'' I cannot tell her ! " said Mrs Mortimer, 
stretching out her hands with a supplicating 
gesture that surprised Dr Henslow, who under- 
took the task, and walked thoughtfully home. 
Meanwhile Griselda had preceded him thither. 



STRANDED. 57 

'* Oh, Jessie/' she cried, on entering, " I am 
so glad to see you ! Agnes's house is too grand 
for me. One has to be so proper, and the foot- 
men stare at one so. May I throw my hat on 
the floor and do everything wrong while I am 
here ? " She seated herself on a footstool as 
she spoke, and buried her face in Jessie's lap. 
Then she talked of her music. 

" I want to get to work again, Jessie. Oh, 
it is a grand thing to feel one can sing ! It 
is a splendid thing to do. The last time I 
sang I did it very, very well, and people 
really enjoyed it. It made me feel my own 
worth." 

She paused a moment, the sparkle that had 
kindled in her eyes dying away and a tear 
gathering in its place. Presently she cried, 
seizing Jessie's hands impulsively, and press- 
ing them ao^ainst her face — 

" Oh, Jessie, what a long time ago it was, 
and how changed everything is now ! " 

" Yes, indeed," said Jessie, who knew what 
was the expected verdict, and whose thought 
was other than Griselda's. 



58 A DREAMER. 

'' I don't think I should know myself to be 
the same person if it was not for my singing. 
That is the same. Ah, Jessie, you smile ! You 
don't believe I can sing a bit. You have 
never heard me. But I can. The power is 
all bottled up in me still, only I can't get it 
out just now. Soon you shall hear." 

" I should rather you did something else, 
darling." 

" Why ? Do you think it wicked ? I have 
heard that some people do. But I don't, and 
that is a good thing, as it is all there is left 
for me in the world. Jessie, why don't you 
talk to-night ? Generally it is you who talk 
and I who listen. Please say you will be glad 
if I am soon able to sing again." 

" I hear my father," said Jessie, struggling 
with a sob ; '' I will go and meet him." 

'' Tell him to come here, Jessie. I want him 
to tell me how long I have to wait." 

Griselda sprang to her feet, with a wave 
of her old vivacity, and stood waiting with 
flushed cheeks. 

Jessie Henslow met her father in the hall. 



STRANDED. 59 

''Well?" she said, anxiously. He shook his 
head and she read the answer in his face. 

'' Papa, it will kill her." 

*' I told you to prepare her, Jess." 

" I couldn't, papa. She is full of it. She 
talks of nothing else. She will break her heart 
when she hears." 

'' She has borne other things." 

" But she says this is her last hope. Papa, 
it will kill her, this coming after everything 
else." 

'' Where is she ? " 

'' The doctor entered, and Griselda came 
forward with outstretched, impulsive hands. 

'' I was so glad to see you to-day, Dr 
Henslow. I was afraid of those strangers. 
Please will you tell me what you and they 
thought ? " 

'' We think you are better and stronger, my 
dear." 

" Ah, yes ; I don't care about that. I want 
to know about my voice." 

'' You must save it for a while." 

" But only for a little while ? It will come 



60 A DREAMER. 

back very soon ? It Is stronger a great deal 
lately. Indeed it is," she cried. 

" Is it ? " said Dr Henslow. 

Griselda felt chilled. '' Please tell me what 
I must do to bring it back ? " she said, more 
quietly. 

" I do not know, my dear." 

*' It is so important to me," she pleaded. " I 
want to get back to my work." 

'' My child, there are other things better for 
you to do at present." 

" I will never do anything else ! " she cried. 

The doctor looked out of the window silently. 
The chill of his manner had struck Griselda to 
the heart. Presently she touched his arm. 

'' Tell me how long It will be ? " she said, 
impatiently. 

" My dear — a long time." 

" So long that I should have to do some- 
thing else while I was waiting — if there Is 
anything else I can do ?" 

" Your cousin will keep you with her." 

'' I should not like that," said Griselda. 

Dr Henslow was silent ao^ain ; but she had 



STRANDED. 6l 

begun to guess his meaning. She dropped his 
arm and stood with her hands clasped, and 
tears slowly falling from her eyes. 

At last she gave a little sob, and cried — 

" Please, dear Dr Henslow, tell me when I 
shall sing again ? " 

The kind-hearted man did not reply for a 
moment. Then he said — 

" My child, I hope in time you may be able 
to sing a good deal ; but for the present, at 
any rate, you must be content to be silent, 
and " 

" I am not silent. I can sing a good deal 
now. When will it all come back ? Oh, please, 
please say it will all come back." 

He took her hand and pressed It. *' My 
dear " 

" I can't bear It," interrupted Griselda. '' I 
shall o^o mad if I cannot sing-. I won't do 
anything else. Tell me what you mean." 

''You know what Jessie tells us about the 
will of God " 

" I don't want to hear about that now. I 
want to sing." 



62 A DREAMER. 

She left the window and seated herself at 
some distance. Dr Henslow watched the 
slight frame quiver, but no sobs reached his 
ear. At last she said — 

" Tell me. I want to hear. What Is It ? " 

" My dear, it is better for you to know " 

" Please go on." 

" My poor child ! I am very sorry. I would 
do anything for you if there was anything to 
be done ; but Blackmore thinks — and I think 
— there is no doubt about It — it Is most un- 
likely that you will ever sing In public again." 

Griselda did not speak or move. She was 
determined to bear It bravely, but her heart 
sank In despair. The blow had not stunned 
her. She had her full consciousness and felt 
the full pain. 

"I want Jessie," she murmured, presently; 
and when the faithful friend came, she flung 
herself into her arms and cried bitterly. 

'' There Is nothing I can do In the world 
now. I have lost the best thing I had. There 
is no place for me any longer," she moaned. 

When Agnes came to take her home, 



STRANDED. 63 

Grlselda shut herself up within herself, and 
drove away as still and quiet as ever she 
had been ; but the tightly - clasped fingers 
and ashy lips told their own tale. 

'* Griselda," said Agnes, " don't trouble over 
it so. You must stay with us, dear." 

" Thank you, Agnes," said Griselda, with 
bitter humility. " I will stay with you for 
the present, if you will let m.e. But that is not 
the only reason why I care, Agnes," she said, 
rather vaguely ; '' it was the best thing I had." 

When they reached Salehurst she fled to 
her room and locked the door. 

'' The only thing I had/' she cried to her- 
self *' Oh, why does God leave me alive 
when I can do nothing for any one ? I didn't 
want to be happy. I only wanted to be a 
little use — to make up a little bit in some 
way. I wanted to make a little music in the 
world for other people, though there is none 
left anywhere for me. Oh, I wish God would 
let me die ! " 

" Agnes," said Oliver that evening, " she is 
bearing it splendidly." 



64 A DREAMER. 

"She never liked the Hfe," said Agnes, 
coldly. 

'' Humbug. Do you suppose any woman 
could succeed as she appears to have been 
succeeding, and could then break off suddenly 
without disappointment ? That fierce child 
could not, at any rate." 

Agnes was silent. 

In the weeks that followed Agnes gave up 
all attempts at understanding Griselda. She 
could not comprehend why the piano was 
never opened now, and the sweet, damaged 
voice never raised to sing a note. She could 
not understand Griselda's agony of self-re- 
proach. She thought it morbid and senti- 
mental. It was undignified : when she dared, 
she hinted this to Griselda. 

The child made no answer, but gently 
shook her head. Agnes had probably never 
done wrong, Griselda thought : she never 
made mistakes, and all her days were pros- 
perous and well arranged. 

And this general satisfactorlness of Agnes's 
life was one reason why Griselda never felt at 



STRANDED. 65 

her ease with her cousin. The young girl had 
had no training for this sort of quiet, regular 
life ; it would have been irksome to her, even 
if all the fountains of joy had not been dried 
up in her heart. Her old life had been wild 
and uncontrolled, but with one serious, settled 
employment — a pivot on which all other em- 
ployments turned. Now her one regular duty 
was gone, and she was cast into a vortex of 
new occupations, with no plan in her mind to 
bind them into order ; no guiding principle 
to co-ordinate the motions of her existence. 
Griselda was too thoughtless and untrained 
to find a new guiding principle quickly. She 
needed time to collect herself; a quiet season 
before beginning her new life. And this quiet 
season appeared unattainable. She felt under 
observation and criticism. She fled from 
Agnes, and disliked Oliver. Instead of peace 
and quietness, she found solitude and loneli- 
ness. If she wanted to be still, she did not 
sit silently in the library window while Agnes 
wrote letters and studied metaphysics. She 
went to her own room and locked her door. 
VOL. III. E 



66 A DREAMER. 

If she rode with Oliver, she forced herself to 
talk, and he did his best to amuse her; but 
she tried to avoid her rides, and to make some 
excuse for walking at an hour when neither 
Oliver nor his wife cared to be out. 

Griselda knew that Agnes thought solitude 
bad for her, and wished to see her with a set- 
tled occupation or study for the morning, and 
she began to feel at war with her cousins. 

There was a great gulf fixed between them 
and her, the real nature of which Griselda 
knew not yet. 



67 



CHAPTER X. 

July found Griselda in London for a few 
days with her cousins, and here she again 
met Mr Benson. Agnes had explained to 
him, in speaking of her uncle's death, that 
she meant to keep Griselda with her. The 
lawyer grinned and made no remark. Later 
he drew Griselda aside to speak to her of 
her prospects. 

"If you had your rights, my dear young 
lady," he said, ''you and your cousin would 
change places." 

Griselda opened her eyes, knowing nothing 
of the transactions alluded to in this remark. 

Mr Benson then told her a long story, 
partly a relation of fact, partly conjecture ; 
and showed her several old letters on the 



68 A DREAMER. 

subject from her grandfather, her father, and 
her uncle ; also a very angry, boyish one from 
Henry, accusing him — Mr Benson — of con- 
nivance in a fraud, and declaring that in a 
few years he intended to bring Mr Mortimer 
and every one else to book, and either 
get his rights or hold Mr Mortimer and 
the rest of the conspirators up to public 
scorn. 

This had been followed by one from William 
Mortimer himself, saying that Henry was a 
fool, and that he — his father — would take care 
he did nothing of the kind. The matter was 
much better dropped : any further mention of 
it could only alienate his brother, who wished 
it hushed up, and who was always ready to 
give him (secretly) any money he pressed for. 
He was very well satisfied, on the whole, and 
liked his Bohemian life. 

Then there was another letter from Henry, 
saying that he did not agree with his father, 
and that he would accept no hush - money. 
Something could be done, he was certain. 
Even things that were of no importance in 



STRANDED. 69 

law were often of great importance in the eyes 
of honest people. 

Very strange to Griselda seemed these voices 
from the now silent, speaking of a matter long 
forgotten. Mr Benson (whose object in all this 
was by no means apparent) was going on to 
speak of Agnes and her husband when Gris- 
elda interrupted. 

" Henry was not very honest himself, Mr 
Benson, and he had no right to speak so of 
other people. And you — I am afraid you are 
not a good man. I cannot listen to any accu- 
sation against my cousins. That part is not 
true, I am sure. Listen : you will never speak 
of this to me again. And I should rather have 
no more to say to you, please, though perhaps 
you have meant it kindly. And I shall be 
very angry if you tell any one what you have 
told me." However, she pondered over it 
all in secret, and formed her own conclusions. 
She had caught a glimpse of the barrier be- 
tween herself and Agnes. 

On the following morning Griselda slipped 
out unobserved, and set forth in the direction 



70 A DREAMER. 

of Dr Henslow's house. Still weak, she found 
the distance very long, but she was determined 
to walk the whole way. 

'' People without money must travel on 
their own feet," she told herself, and plodded 
on. She passed the house where she and 
her father had dwelt two years before. So 
strangely familiar it looked — she paused and 
rang the bell. A maid - servant, not her 
Elizabeth, answered it. 

" Who lives here now, please ? " demanded 
Griselda impetuously, throwing back her veil 
and transfixing the girl with her earnest eyes. 

'' Mrs Green," replied the maid, staring at 
the slight, black-robed figure before her, and 
wondering who it could be. " Was you pleased 
to want anything ? " 

" No, thank you," said Griselda, wearily, 
'' unless you would give me a glass of water, 
and let me rest a minute. I am very tired, 
and I lived here once a long time ago." 

The girl pulled out a chair in the hall, and 
having dusted it with her apron, begged the 
young lady to sit down while she went for the 



STRANDED. 71 

water. Griselda covered her face with her 
hands and waited. Some one was practising 
a song to a piano in the room where she had 
had her Httle tea-parties. She shivered as the 
voice rang down the stair to her ears. Why, 
oh why, was she sitting here in secret, afraid 
to venture farther ? Why was she not up- 
stairs where she used to be ? If that voice 
were but Ralph's kind, pleasant voice — if the 
ring at the door were but followed by Philip's 
firm, quiet tread upon the stairs ! Vain wish. 
She drank the water silently, gave the maid 
sixpence, and returned to the street. She 
cried a little to herself as she walked on. 
That peep of the old familiar place haunted 
her. She was so different herself; and the 
well-known faces had all vanished. And the 
old life was over, which, with all Its disadvan- 
tages and troubles, was the only life she knew. 
She was going out Into a new life, Into an un- 
known region, and she seemed to be leaving 
even her old self behind. " I wonder if death 
is anything like it ? " said Griselda to herself, 
questioningly. She was seated now in the 



72 A DREAMER. 

doctor's private room, for she had asked for 
him, and not for Jessie. 

"Well, my dear?" said he, pleasantly, 
pressing her hands. 

" Dr Henslow," said Griselda, "you are a 
clever man, and I have come to ask you some- 
thing. You will tell me what I want to know, 
will you not ? " 

" I will try, my dear, though I am not con- 
fident about the cleverness." 

" I have no one else to ask," said Gris- 
elda. 

" We will try and consider it a compliment," 
said the doctor, smiling. 

" First, I want to know whether you think 
I am well now ? — I mean strong, and able to 
do thinofs ? " 

" You don't seem to me very powerful yet." 

" But I am really. I walked here. Besides, 
it does not make any difference if I am not. 
Dr Henslow, do you really think I can't go 
back to my singing ? " 

" I told you what I thought, my poor dear." 

" But you might have changed your mind. 



STRANDED. 73 

You do not understand how important it is to 
me. Shall I sing a little to you now, and you 
will listen, and say if you do not think my 
voice is better ? " 

" Very good," said Dr Henslow ; and Grls- 
elda sang. 

" Well ? " she said, anxiously. 

" It is stronger, certainly ; but it will hardly 
do for the opera, will it ? " 

" Of course not, now. But in May you said 
never. Do you say that still ? " 

" I am afraid I must," said Dr Henslow. 

** Very well,*' said Griselda, sitting down, 
her face showing that limp resignation which 
follows on the downfall of groundless hopes. 

'' You are tired," said the doctor. '' Shall I 
come and talk to you presently ? " 

" No ; I will tell you what I am come about. 
Dr Henslow^ you know about things. Yo2l 
must find me something to doJ^ 

" Something to do, dear child ? " 

'' Yes ; I must not be idle longer. I must 
go and earn my bread." 

" But your cousins " 



74 A DREAMER. 

" They want me to live with them. I know 
that. But I do not mean to do it." 

" And why not ? " 

'^ There are several reasons. I don't fancy 
they would really like it ; and I could not bear 
to be dependent on any one ; and I don't want 
to stay with them." 

" But, my dear little girl, you are not strong 
enough to work, and you are not old enough 
to be on your own resources. These cousins 
of yours are very rich people, and you will 
make no difference to them. I don't think 
you should refuse such a kind offer.'* 

" I have come to you to help me, because it 
is a little difficult to find anything I am able 
to do. I can't stay with Agnes. Don't ask 
me why not — I am not going to tell you ; but 
I don't ever want to stay long with her again, 
or to accept another penny from her, if I can 
help it, though she is my cousin. Please, Dr 
Henslow, don't say this to any one — what I have 
said about Agnes ; but I can't stay with her." 

Griselda spoke earnestly, and Dr Henslow 
saw she was determined. 



STRANDED. 75 

" Well, come to us/' he said, warmly. '* Jess 
and I want you marvellously." 

Her cheek flushed, but she answered quiet- 
ly — *' Thank you, Dr Henslow ; you are very 
kind — what you have always been ; but I 
should rather keep myself. I could not bear 
to be dependent on any one. Please don't 
ask me again, but help me to find something 
to do." 

He did not urge her more then. " Well, 
let us think about it," he said, cheerfully. 

" You say I can't sing," said Griselda. " I 
could not act without singing. I should not 
like that. It was always the music kept me 
going. I can't draw like papa. I don't 
know enough to be a governess. Besides, 
don't you think I should look ridiculous as 
a teacher ? " 

" No, you don't look like a governess," said 
the doctor, smiling. 

*' I would do needlework or anything, if I 
knew how ; but I am so dreadfully ignorant 
about things, and there is no time to learn 
anything. I want to make money at once." 



'je A DREAMER. 

" We must find something. Pray, is your 
Ignorance general as well as particular ? " 

'' I know some things. I can speak several 
languages, and I know a good deal about 
music. I could teach that." 

" We shall see — we shall see — if you are 
determined to go out into the world." 

" I am quite. Please will you tell me when 
you have found something for me to do ? I 
can't think how to set about it. I looked at 
the advertisements in several papers, but they 
were no use. So I came to you. Shall I go 
and see Jessie now?" ended Griselda, who 
had implicit confidence in Dr Henslow, and 
was ready to leave everything in his hands for 
the present. 



77 



CHAPTER XI. 

The doctor and Jessie were very kind, very 
impulsive, and not always very judicious 
people. Enlisted in Griselda's service, they 
set to work to find her a ''place," as she 
wished it, and before very long they found 
one. 

Jessie had, as a girl, been educated at a 
school near the pleasant seaside town of 
Bridgate. Mrs Austin the schoolmistress had 
known Dr Henslow for years, and his plain, 
good-natured, honest little daughter became 
one of her favourite pupils. Jessie idolised 
Mrs Austin ; there could not be another per- 
son In the world, thought Jessie, so wise, so 
noble, so good as she. Mrs Austin was be- 
loved by most of her pupils, and respected 



78 A DREAMER. 

by all who knew her. She was an elderly 
woman now, but vigorous as she had been 
in her youth. School - keeping was her de- 
light ; and it would have been hard to have 
found a more successful schoolmistress. As 
her pupils left her, they were, with scarcely an 
exception, ladylike, wise, religious women, 
well educated and well principled. 

In Dr Henslow's eyes, Mrs Austin had but 
one fault : she was too religious and puri- 
tanical. In Jessie's eyes she had no fault. To 
this good lady, and to her pleasant house in 
the village of Cromlngden, surrounded by a 
garden and looking out upon the sea, Griselda 
Mortimer went as a sort of pupil-teacher — 
what Mrs Austin called a '' Companion to her 
dear girls." Her work was to be chiefly 
among the younger pupils, to whom she was 
to teach music, and whom she was to help 
with their French exercises. She was to talk 
in foreign languages with all the girls, and was 
to be generally helpful and useful ; but she 
was to share the lessons of the first class, and 
to try and learn the good habits, mental, moral. 



STRANDED. 79 

and religious, that the " dear elder children " 
had acquired under Mrs Austin's roof. 

No one but Mrs Austin knew that Griselda 
had been an opera-singer, and she only learned 
it from the young girl's own lips on the even- 
ing of her arrival. Dr Henslow and Jessie 
had thought it best to be silent on this matter, 
and Griselda had taken no direct part herself 
in the negotiations with Mrs Austin. 

It may be thought that the schoolmistress 
was Imprudent In choosing a pupil-teacher on 
such very slight knowledge. If so, it must be 
explained that she was a firm believer in what 
are termed special providences. It was her 
constant assertion that she never chose her 
pupils or governesses, but took those " whom 
the Lord brougfht her.'' No one but Griselda 
had applied for the office of Companion to the 
dear girls, so it was manifest to Mrs Austin 
that she was intended to obtain It. Very 
much staggered and horrified was the good 
lady when Griselda, surprised at her ignor- 
ance, informed her what had been her for- 
mer life, and she at once resolved to send 



8o A DREAMER. 

her away, supposing she had mistaken the 
Lord's leading ; but Griselda pleaded so earn- 
estly to be allowed one little trial : she was, 
according to Jessie's account. In such an inter- 
esting state of religious conviction: her posi- 
tion seemed such a forlorn one, and she ap- 
peared to be so suitable to teach the things 
Mrs Austin required, that she was suffered 
to remain for a month, on the condition that 
she never mentioned her former occupation, 
directly or Indirectly. 

The month passed : Griselda was still at 
Cromlngden, and Mrs Austin said nothing 
about sending her away. 

She was not comfortable In her new sphere. 
Accustomed to life in an exciting and eventful 
form, the round of her existence now was 
dreary In Its monotony. No caged bird ever 
pined more for freedom. *' I have lived my 
life," she cried sometimes, " and none of these 
people know what life Is." For it seemed to 
Griselda in her foolishness, that Mrs Austin 
and her pupils lived artificial lives with in- 
vented duties, mock joys and sorrows, and 



STRANDED. 8l 

fictitious views on all subjects. The elder 
girls she disliked exceedingly, for they were 
conceited and patronising, treating her with 
a fussy kindness, and one another with an 
effusive amiability which she could not regard 
as natural. But everybody's intense religious 
earnestness was what perplexed and repelled 
her most. People were always trying to do 
her good, and telling her she was prayed for 
in public and private. Mrs Austin herself 
treated her more judiciously, and Griselda was 
grateful ; but the elder girls worried her past 
endurance. She became cold in manner and 
silent, fearing to speak lest she should betray 
her impatience or the shame she felt when 
hidden things of the soul were dragged forth 
to the light and paraded before every eye. 
But she liked and respected Mrs Austin, and 
at least she had found a home. She had no 
wish once more to cut herself adrift and to 
seek a new place in the world of strangers. 
She stayed on and did her best ; endeavoured 
faithfully to prevent the little girls from saying, 
'' Je besoin donner vous mon llvre," or "le feu 
VOL. III. F 



82 A DREAMER. 

est sorti ; " tried hard to be patient with un- 
musical students ; studied Rollin's ' Ancient 
History' with some diligence and tolerable 
success ; and wished not to be even mentally 
argumentative when Mrs Austin discoursed 
on the superiority of faith over reason. 

For the rest, Griselda's bodily health im- 
proved, and among the younger children she 
found several sweet little friends. The reg- 
ular, early hours, and the plenitude of fresh 
air and outdoor exercise brought something 
like strength to Griselda's worn - out frame ; 
the fresh sea-breeze and a month's bathing 
exhilarated her ; and Mrs Austin's garden was 
never forbidden ground. Often Griselda went 
out and hid herself in some leafy corner, where 
she pondered over the past life that she was 
trying to forget; over the dear, vanished 
faces ; over Agnes and Oliver, who were angry 
with her for having left them and become a 
governess ; over her present life and the wild 
longing to get out into the world and be her- 
self once more. Or she would take poor 
Ralph's Bible and study it and the pencil- 



STRANDED. 83 

marks he had made long ago for himself, and 
try to find out a religion in it that would be 
what she wanted to fill the void and the 
aching in her heart. But if she heard steps 
and voices approaching, she would jump up 
hastily and hide her Bible among the leaves, 
and be doing something else as the girls went 
past, lest they should notice her and form their 
own conclusions, which she knew would jar on 
her terribly. 

She was, as I say, cold and apathetic in 
manner, and the elder orirls thought her feel- 
ingless and shockingly irreligious ; but the 
little ones liked her gentle smile, or the rare 
laugh that burst from her lips when she was 
with them ; and Mrs Austin still thought her 
in an interesting state of mind, and was 
touched by her evident sorrow and loneliness. 

Griselda stayed on restlessly, and wondered 
if for the whole long future her steps were to 
be hedged in safely and somewhat drearily, as 
are those of most English women. 

Have you ever watched the sea after a 
storm ? The breakers spend their force by 



84 A DREAMER. 

degrees, lashing the rocks with gradually less- 
ening fury. The change is very gradual. 
The wave of now may be fiercer than the 
wave of ten minutes ago, but at four o'clock 
the water is quieter than it was at three. At 
last the fury is gone, and a dull, mournful calm 
has succeeded, that still groans and cries with 
anguish, but that tosses and roars no more. 
Slowly and wearily the waters roll up on the 
beach and fall backward again with a despair- 
ing sob ; the dull surface is black, with here 
and there a fleck of foam or a floating spar 
from some shipwrecked vessel. The fisher- 
men launch their boats and spread their nets, 
and life goes on as before. But the sea is 
still the same, and at any moment the clouds 
may gather and the storm return ; or the sun 
may shine forth and bring back the polish to 
the rippling surface, and the sparkle to the 
dancing, smiling wavelets on the beach. 



PART VII. 
PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES 



CHAPTER I. 

There came to the town of Bridgate a com- 
pany of lay-preachers — evangelists they termed 
themselves — and held meetings every afternoon 
for a fortnight. Mrs Austin was a member of 
the Church of England, and the preachers were 
Dissenters — probably Plymouth Brethren; but 
she took her pupils to the meetings neverthe- 
less, and was charmed with them. 

Griselda was not pressed to attend : no 
one was pressed ; but every one except her- 
self wished, or said they wished, to go. The 
religious excitement at Cromingden became 
greater than ever. The usual business of 
the school was temporarily suspended ; morn- 
ing and evening prayers were doubled in 
length ; Bibles replaced the ordinary lesson- 
books ; meetings were attended every day, 



88 A DREAMER. 

or held by clergymen and evangelists In the 
drawing-room of Mrs Austin's house; and 
private prayer - meetings were organised by 
the girls every night. Mrs Austin said one 
day that she disapproved of religious excite- 
ment ; but she liked religious enthusiasm ; and 
the present excitement she called enthusiasm. 

Griselda went on her way, silent and re- 
served, saying nothing, and betraying no 
enthusiasm at all. Nevertheless she was 
intensely moved and excited — more deeply, 
perhaps, than any one else in the house. Her 
vehement nature, once possessed by an emo- 
tion, was apt to be overbalanced by it; and 
this was what occurred now. Sympathy with 
the movement she had none ; her agitation 
was wholly caused by a spirit of opposition 
to it, which she could not explain, and which 
she often feared was wicked. She felt on the 
verge of some nervous disease ; became pale 
and weak, with eyes unnaturally bright ; and 
lost her powers of eating and sleeping. Mrs 
Austin more than once asked if she were ill; 
and when Griselda answered No, naturally 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 89 

concluded that the awakening had begun in 
her soul also. 

One day the foremost of the orators, who 
had some slight acquaintance with Mrs Austin, 
came to the house to hold a drawing-room 
meeting. A special invitation to Griselda 
from the schoolmistress could not be disre- 
garded, and she found a seat prepared for 
her on the sofa beside Mrs Austin, and pro- 
vided with a footstool and cushion by her 
special aversion, one of the elder girls named 
Rosa Stephens. The speaker was a cousin 
of Rosa's, and she too sat on the sofa. 
Griselda entered unwillingly, with downcast 
eyes, and took her seat ; then she glanced at 
the speaker. Mrs Austin took her hand and 
would have introduced her as he turned round 
and met Griselda's dark, flashing eyes. He 
started, then bowed awkwardly. 

Griselda's colour came and went. She 
made no salutation, but rose and confronted 
him. He was changed — very much changed 
for the better in every respect — but Griselda 
knew him. 



90 A DREAMER. 

** We have met before, Captain Castleton," 
she said, rapidly. 

Mr Castleton (he had dropped the captain 
since he had become an evangeHst) was evi- 
dently confused, but his natural effrontery did 
not forsake him. 

** How is my dear old friend, Miss Mor- 
timer?" he said. 

'' My father is dead," answered Griselda, 
without moving her eyes, and speaking with 
the same agitated quickness. 

** Dead ! But not before the Lord had 
mercy on his soul ?" said Mr Castleton, stam- 
mering a little. 

Griselda neither answered nor averted her 
eyes. Captain Castleton had flinched before 
those deep, lustrous eyes ere now, and they 
made him uncomfortable to-day. He turned 
to Mrs Austin. 

*' I am so glad, Griselda," whispered Rosa, 
" that you know dear cousin Frederick. You 
will be able to talk to him so much more com- 
fortably after the meeting. You can't think 
how helpful he always Is ! " 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 91 

"Will you excuse me, Mrs Austin?" said 
Griselda ; "I do not feel very well, and I 
should rather not remain now, I think." 

She did not wait for permission, but quietly 
left the room, shutting the door softly. No 
one attempted to detain her, though probably 
Castleton alone guessed the reason of her 
flight. 

She staggered up-stairs to her room, and 
threw herself on her bed. 

About ten minutes later a clock strikinof 
three startled her. She rose, and pouring 
out some water, bathed her burning forehead, 
and arranged her short, disordered hair. She 
was quite calm and firm in her actions now. 
She took out her desk, and wrote a little note, 
which she folded and laid on her dressing-table. 
Then she found her travelling-bag, and packed 
in it a few necessaries, and a few treasured 
possessions, including Ralph's Bible. This 
she carried herself to the hall : the whole 
house was quiet, Mrs Austin, the governesses, 
and pupils being still in the drawing-room. 
Griselda went to the back door and called 



92 A DREAMER. 

the old parlour - maid. " Will you get me a 
cab, please, Jane ? I am obliged to go to 
London. I have told Mrs Austin," she said, 
quietly. 

" Ain't no one going to the station with you, 
Miss ? " said the prudent Jane. 

''No, thank you ; it is all right. You need 
not call any one. Just get the fly, please, and 
let me go quietly." 

In five minutes' time Griselda was driving 
to the station in Bridgate ; a train was just 
starting from thence for London when she 
arrived ; in it she presently found herself be- 
ing carried swiftly away from Cromingden, and 
the only home she knew. Whither she was 
going she could not tell. 



93 



CHAPTER II. 

In the room where years ago they had ex- 
changed their long good-byes, Agnes Morti- 
mer and PhiHp Temple were talking once 
again. It was many months since Philip's 
last visit to Salehurst, and its inhabitants had 
changed in the interval. Very dreary seemed 
the great house now, though the master and 
mistress were still young, popular, and splen- 
did ; though the little heiress was a clever, 
beautiful child ; though the servants were 
pampered and content. Philip was used to 
dreariness, and he scarcely noticed it at Sale- 
hurst. But he saw that Oliver was changed ; 
Agnes also ; and their old indifference to each 
other had deepened into evident dislike. The 
two days of Philip's visit had been dull ; but 



94 A DREAMER. 

Philip was dull himself, and the depression he 
brought with him was hardly increased. 

*' Why do you bury yourself in that place, 
Philip ? " asked Agnes. " You are killing 
yourself. I cannot bear to see you." 

'' People are not killed so easily, Agnes." 

*' It is not good for you. If you went home 
again ? Or come to London. We shall be 
there. We could see you often." 

" There is something wise written — is 
there not ? — about one's own bitterness, and 
strangers intermeddling not.'' 

"• We are not strangers. You might feel at 
home with us." 

" Absolute strangers," said Philip, dreamily. 
His inattention vexed Agnes. 

'' Ah, Philip, you have forgotten the past, or 
you would not say we were strangers to each 
other." 

'' The past is more vivid to me than the 
present." 

" Not the past I speak of." 

He made no answer, and Agnes continued, 
" I remember it, more than I should perhaps. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 95 

Yet no, I will not say that. It was the best 
time of my life. The thing of which one re- 
grets the loss, one remembers very keenly." 

'' Very." 

" You are thinking of something else, Philip. 
You are preoccupied." 

" I fear I am often preoccupied. But I can 
get up an interest in anything, Agnes. Try 
me." He spoke lightly. 

" Get up an interest ? Yes. Interest should 
be spontaneous." 

" Forgive me, Agnes. I am a selfish brute. 
What were you saying ? " 

She did not reply. Philip feared she was 
offended. 

" You were speaking of the past, Agnes, 
which " 

'' Which we shared together, Philip." 

" I think it is best not to go back upon that." 

'' Why not ? " said Agnes, in her grand, 
dignified way. It is not forgotten — by me 
at least. How can one forget such things ? 
They leave traces even when they are com- 
pletely dead." 



gS A DREAMER. 

" What things, Agnes ? I do not follow 
you." 

" No ; you have forgotten the past. Because 
it is winter, you have forgotten the spring. 
One's early love is like the spring, is it not ? " 

Philip flushed a little. 

" Forgotten, Agnes ? No. But it is dead 
— as you say." 

" Dead for you : not dead for me, but 
changed into a long regret." 

" Hush, Agnes. Such things are best un- 
said." 

** Why ? Do you suppose we do not trust 
you — my husband and I ? Oliver knows I 
regret the past." 

'' We all have our regrets. It is best to be 
silent about them." 

'' It can do you no harm, Philip — one 
woman's affection." 

*' I do not want your affection, Agnes. Mine 
belongs to another — and you will not under- 
stand me perhaps when I say I feel it an 
insult to her that any one else should speak 
to me of affection." 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 97 

** No, Philip. I have never understood you. 
It grieves me now to see you wasting your 
love on Griselda, if, as you say, you have no 
thought of marrying her. I don't see the 
heroism of it." 

" Heroism ? There Is none : I am far from 
being a hero. Our parting is a necessity, 
Agnes. But I love her still, though you 
may not understand it." 

" Why should I not understand It ? Had 
I no experience of your love ? " 

" Agnes, it is useless. It is wrong to allude 
to the past thus. What question of love can 
there be between you and me ? " 

*' None, I am well aware, Philip, or I should 
not have alluded to a past which /las left 
traces for me." 

" Traces of friendliness and Interest, Agnes 
— no more." 

** Why do you speak reproachfully ? You 
are cruel, Philip." 

" Perhaps. Suffering makes people cruel. 
But this should not be, I admit. I do not 
wish to hurt you. If you are unhappy I 

VOL. III. G 



98 A DREAMER. 

am sorry for it. I would help you if I 
could." 

" You doubt it, then ? You think you and 
Griselda have absorbed the sorrow of the 
world?" 

" I wish I could think so, " said Philip, 
meditatively : *' if I could believe our sorrow 
lightened the general sorrow of the world- " 

" Ah, don't go off into a dream. Why do 
you brood over your sorrow thus ? If you " 

" Agnes," interrupted Philip, *' if you too 
know the taste of that strange sauce, why 
were you not more tender to Griselda ? " 

*' Yes, you think only of her." 

" Of whom else should I think ? Are you 
angry with her, Agnes, because I love her ? " 

" Why are you so bitter ? Because we 
loved each other long ago ? " 

" Did we love each other, Agnes ? " 

" You have forgotten even that." 

" I have forgotten nothing. I remember too 
much, perhaps. How easily we parted ! " 

''You did not love me, Philip." 

" I loved you with a boy's love. I scarcely 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 99 

knew you. Agnes, waste no regrets on a love 
— dead completely now, and which never was 
more than a dream — a fancy." 

Reply was prevented by Oliver's entrance. 
He glanced from one to the other. 

'' Don't let me interrupt you," he said scorn- 
fully, and left the room again. 

Philip followed him; Agnes remained alone, 
tears of vexation filling her eyes. 

" My wife takes a great interest In you, 
Phil," said Oliver, bitterly. ** I understand 
the kind of thing she has been treating you 
to. Don't you think you were a fool not to 
marry that handsome woman when you had 
the chance ? " 

" No, I think not," said Philip, quietly. 

" She told me," said Oliver, still bitterly, but 
with unmistakable sadness, **that if she had 
married you, she might have loved her hus- 
band and children." 

Philip stopped and laid his hand on Oliver's 
arm : he had never felt so nearly In sympathy 
with Oliver as at that moment. For several 
minutes neither of them spoke. 



100 A DREAMER. 

'' I suppose you Intend to marry Grlselda ? " 
said Oliver, presently. 

Philip withdrew his arm. 

'' I do not expect ever to see Griselda 
again/' he answered, quietly. 

*' You are an enigma. I don't suppose there 
is another man in England who would make 
such a reply under your circumstances." 

" Are you sure you understand the circum- 
stances ? " 

Oliver did not reply. He was watching 
Lily, who, with her governess, was walking 
before them at a short distance. Presently 
he sighed. 

After this they tried, unsuccessfully enough, 
to converse on general topics. They were too 
little intimate for other than indifferent mat- 
ters to be broached except cursorily ; but they 
had never before thought of each other with 
so much friendliness, and on the morrow they 
parted with almost regret. 

Poor Oliver, w^hose plan of life had proved 
so attainable, and who had succeeded in almost 
all his aims, had nearly reached the end of his 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. lOI 

disappointed career. A few weeks later, Philip, 
in his self-imposed banishment, heard of his 
cousin's death. 

Oliver was mourned neither by his widow 
nor his daughter. Agnes had tended him 
coldly in his last illness, and had never noticed 
the yearning In his fading eyes. Lily had re- 
fused to come to his bedside, till her mother 
had commanded her presence. 

" Good - bye, Lily," said Oliver. " Take 
care of poor mamma for me." 

*' Why do you say ' poor mamma ? ' " asked 
Lily. " She does not mind." 

" You will remember me when you ride 
Snowball, Lily?" 

" I like Puck better. I don't think I will 
ride Snowball any more." 

Oliver turned from Lily, and half stretched 
out his hand to Agnes. But she made no 
answering gesture, and he hastily withdrew it. 
Lily was not with him at the last, and her 
mother's face was averted. Yet he had clung 
to life such as it was, and had dreaded the 
parting from these two, who were all he had. 



102 A DREAMER. 

In the dying agony he caught hold of Agnes's 
sleeve, and drew her arm to his lips. His 
last distinguishable word was '' Lily," He 
was trying to utter a message for his little girl. 
It was never given to her. Perhaps Agnes 
could not hear the failing voice ; perhaps she 
forgot its last stammering wish. 



103 



CHAPTER III. 

Griselda, in her flight to London, seated her- 
self in a railway carriage, where were two 
other ladies. They appeared to be relations 
— probably sisters. For a long while the pale 
girl, sitting so still in the corner, with un- 
gloved hands tightly clasped, was not noticed 
by these ladies, and she did not pay the 
smallest attention to them. She was far too 
much engrossed by her own affairs to think of 
other people. What had she done ? Whither 
was she going ? What would become of her ? 
Would Mrs Austin and kind Jessie Henslow 
be so angry that they would never help her 
again ? Was Agnes in town, and could she 
bring herself once more to ask aid from her ? 
How long would her scanty stock of money 
maintain her ? And could a respectable girl 



104 A DREAMER. 

find occupation In London, unhelped by, and 
unknown to, her friends ? There was no 
answer to these questions, and Griselda pon- 
dered in vain. Wild Ideas of seeking out old 
professional acquaintances, and obtaining some 
theatrical employment, possessed her ; but she 
shrank from the Idea of this life. It required 
more boldness than she could command, and 
she felt herself unsuited for it ; though, at this 
moment, no better plan presented itself to her 
mind. 

*' There never was a worn-out, faded crea- 
ture who looked less like an actress than I," 
she said to herself; ''and I can do nothing 
else. Oh, why does God make me go on 
living ? " She felt so lonely and helpless, sit- 
ting there in her corner and pondering over 
her destiny, that the childish tears filled her 
eyes and rolled over her cheeks. 

" Oh, I wish I had a mother, or any one 
belonging to me ! " thought the poor child. 

The two ladies were talking, as sisters talk 
when they do not often meet, and wish to 
make the most of one short Interview. Pres- 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 105 

ently Griselda caught a scrap of their con- 
versation. 

" Are you to reach home to-night, Mary ?" 

" I must, on account of my governess. I 
told you how awkwardly situated I am at 
present." 

" Ah, to be sure. By the by, Susan Lang- 
ley mentioned a very superior person to me, 
who perhaps might suit you. Would you care 
for her address ? " 

" But I don't at all wish to part with Janet. 
She is exactly what I require ; and an old 
friend is infinitely preferable to a stranger. 
I am most anxious to keep her if possible." 

" I quite forget what is the matter." 

" Why, she cannot give the time I require, 
unless I pay her a great deal more. And 
though I value her exceedingly, I don't quite 
wish to do that. She has no accomplishments, 
you know." 

" Do the children like her ? " 

" Oh yes, they are beginning to value her, 
now they are getting older. Really Ellen and 
Carry have grown immensely the last few 



I06 A DREAMER. 

years. They ought to have some extra les- 
sons in music and drawing, and that sort of 
thing. But masters are so expensive, and I 
really can't afford even to pay Janet more than 
I have been doing." 

" Dear me, I should never have thought 
Janet Lindsay that sort of grasping person." 

" No, Lizzie ; you mistake. Janet is not 
grasping. It is on her mother's account. She 
must either take day-pupils, so as to be able 
to go home sometimes during the day, and 
always at night, or she must keep a companion 
for her. She says she can't afford that." 

"No; I suppose not. I don't understand 
how they live as it is." 

" Did you know that Emily was dead ? " « 

"Is she really ? Poor thing, what a happy 
release ! " 

" For her, yes. But Mrs Lindsay misses 
her. She has never been used to the whole 
day by herself; and she has no one to wait 
upon her, for they have dismissed Emily's 
maid. Mrs Lindsay is so depressed and help- 
less, that Janet says it must not continue ; and 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 10/ 

I fear it will end in my losing her, vexing as 
that will be." 

'' They are a most unfortunate family." 

" They are. But the poor, dear doctor was 
always extravagant. Don't you remember our 
father saying so ? " 

*' How long has Janet been a governess ?'' 

" Only since the brother's death. Poor 
Ralph ! What a nice fellow he was ! Very 
sad his dying all alone In London with none 
of his family near him. And now poor Emily 
gone ! But it was Ralph's death left them so 
badly off. He was supporting them almost 
entirely, I believe." 

'' Yes ; he gave up his own prospects for 
their sakes, I heard. He was engaged to be 
married, you know, and broke the engagement 
off because he could not afford to marry. It 
was a pity Janet let him do that, I think." 

" It was very shabby of the girl to desert 
him for such a reason." 

" Oh, my dear, people can't marry on noth- 
ing a-year. But very likely there was more in 
it than one heard." 



I08 A DREAMER. 

" I suspect SO. I don't fancy it was a good 
match. Janet told me they did not approve 
of it." 

The conversation drifted into other channels, 
and interested Griselda no more. 

When the train reached London, and the 
travellers were preparing to descend, the lady 
who had been addressed as Mary felt a light 
touch on her arm, and heard a low voice 
beside her saying — 

*' I beg your pardon, — but will you tell me 
where those ladies you were speaking of live ? 
I know them — I mean I am a relation ; and I 
want to know where they are." 

The lady looked a little astonished, but 
after a moment's hesitation replied — 

'' Certainly. You mean Miss Lindsay, my 
governess, I suppose. Shall I give you her 
address ? " 

*' Mrs Lindsay's, please," said Griselda : " I 
mean I should like both." 

The lady wrote the desired information on 
a slip of paper and handed it to Griselda, 
saying — 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 109 

" I will tell Miss Lindsay you asked about 
her;" then, with a courteous bend of her head, 
she left the train. Griselda descended also, 
and went into the waiting-room. Here she 
studied the addresses on the sheet of paper. 

" Miss Lindsay, 

Mrs Ward, 

Heath BANK, 

ponchester." 

" Mrs Lindsay, 

I\'Y Cottage, 

Middleton Lane, 

Near Ponchester." 

" I wonder where Ponchester is ? " said 
Griselda. 

She sat down, and repeated to herself all 
she could remember of the conversation be- 
tween the two ladies about Ralph's mother 
and sisters. She knew them all by name, and 
little more of them. On the miserable day of 
Ralph's death Griselda had scarcely noticed 
Janet, and now she had only a vague recollec- 
tion of her as a cold yet brusque person, who 
had not been so kind as other people. 

** But Ralph loved her," said she to herself, 



no A DREAMER. 

" and he loved his mother. They are all that 
Is left of him now." 

" Please can you tell me where Ponchester 
is?'' asked Griselda of a porter. He looked 
bewildered, and introduced her to a superior 
official. He in his turn introduced her to 
a map and a Bradshaw, the latter proving 
a source of great bewilderment to the ill- 
educated young traveller. 

It was not really late that evening, when, 
after a second railway journey, Griselda de- 
scended at Ponchester station. She was cold, 
and tired, and frightened, but she had a settled 
purpose in her mind. It had seemed a long 
journey, for the wintry day had soon closed in, 
and her ignorance of the places she passed 
appeared to increase the distance. These 
eastern counties were an unfamiliar land to 
her, and their doleful aspect was depressing. 
She tried to read Macaulay s ' Essays,' which 
she had brought with her ; then she tried to 
doze ; but she was nervously wakeful, and 
nervously Inattentive to her book. A pitying 
old lady by her side wrapped her in a warm 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. Ill 

shawl, one of the many in a capacious rug- 
strap. 

'' Thank you," said Griselda. '' You are 
very kind : every one is kind to me," she 
added, looking up into the rosy old face with 
her soft eyes. 

" Dear, what a pretty child ! " exclaimed 
the old lady, astonished ; and Griselda's dim- 
pling smile increased her beauty for a mo- 
ment. 

'' You are too young to go travelling about 
by yourself, my dear, if you can help it. 
Where are you going ? " 

" I don't know," said Griselda. 

" Bless me ! Is the child's mother daft ? 
Dont know, my dear ? " 

" I mean, I don't know the people I am 
going to." 

*' Ah," said the old lady, " I understand 
better now. I hope you will like them, my 
dear." And she took Griselda's cold hand, 
and held it within her own inside her muff. 
When Griselda was getting out at Ponchester, 
she delayed her a moment to kiss her. 



112 A DREAMER. 

'' I wish you were older, my dear," she said, 
pityingly. 

'' Yes," said Griselda, smiling again, " I am 
really." 

She descended to the cold, cheerless plat- 
form, on which very few persons were stand- 
ing. The air felt damp and raw, and every one 
bustled into shelter as fast as possible. Gris- 
elda longed for her desolate journey's end. 

Her lip quivered as she directed the cab- 
driver to Ivy Cottage ; she trembled nervously 
as the vehicle jolted and creaked through the 
ill-paved town, and along a dark, country road. 
It was a long distance, and Griselda expected 
no welcome at the end. She counted the 
meagre contents of her purse anxiously, won- 
dering how many shillings the surly driver 
would want from her, and whether she would 
have to return again to the station that 
evening. She pictured herself sitting all night 
in the dreary waiting-room after Mrs Lindsay 
had sent her away. She could not go back to 
London till the morning — she was too tired ; 
and perhaps, in the cold, and darkness, and 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. II3 

loneliness, she would be able to frame some 
new plan for her existence. 

" I wonder where poor, dear old Luise is 
now ? " thought the lonely girl, as she wan- 
dered forth to the stranger's hearth. 

At last the fly stopped before a small white 
house, and Griselda jumped out and rang the 
bell hastily. 

The door was opened at once by a little old 
lady with a quiet face. She spoke in a low, 
gentle voice — 

" So soon, dear ? " Then she started on 
seeing a stranger, and drew back. 

Griselda explained, in a hurried, agitated 
voice — 

" I am Griselda Mortimer. I heard two 
ladies talking of you, and they said you were 
lonely, and had no one to do things for you all 
day, and your daughter would be obliged to 
give up her situation, perhaps. And I came 
because I thought you would let me in for 
Ralph's sake ; and I will do everything for 
you, as I would have done for him. And I 
will work and make money, so as to cost you 

VOL. III. H 



114 A DREAMER. 

nothing. Only, please, let me stay with you 
and be your daughter for his sake. I have 
no home, and so few friends — and — and — you 
were always kind to my brother Henry," she 
ended, stammering. 

Mrs Lindsay said nothing ; but she led the 
child into a little room where a bright fire was 
burning, before which stood a tea-table. 

" I know you don't like me," Griselda went 
on, " and think I was not worthy to be his 
wife, because — I was a singer — and — and 
other things. But I am not a singer now ; 
and if you will let me stay — I will serve you 
all my life for Ralph's sake." 

Then Mrs Lindsay spoke. 

" You loved him, Griselda ? " 

The tears rushed into the girl's eyes, and 
she answered, with a sob — 

'* He was the best man I ever knew, and 
I would have died for him. When he died, 
I did not want to live." 

** He loved you," said Mrs Lindsay. ** Did 
you love him ? " 

Griselda made no answer. She gazed at 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 1 15 

Ralph's mother, with the tears shining in her 
eyes, and spread out her hands for pity. 

" They told me — was it true ? — that you 
gave him up ? " 

Griselda sank on her knees, her thin hands 
clasped, and her pale, pinched face quivering 
with emotion. 

" Oh ! " she cried, " I never meant it. I 
would have given my life for him. He would 
have forgiven, when I came and told him, if 
he could have understood. But he never 
knew who I was. I knew I had done wrong. 
I wanted to do right afterwards. Am I not 
punished ? " she sobbed, her head drooping on 
her hands. 

*' It was a terrible blow to us all," said Mrs 
Lindsay. 

"If you knew what it was," cried Griselda, 
*'to see him die without one word to forgive 
me ; without ever knowing me, or hearing how 
miserable I was, — you would never reproach 
me again, if you knew what it was ! " 

"He would have forgiven you," said the old 
lady, crying herself; " he loved you very much." 



Il6 A DREAMER. 

Griselda crept closer, and pressed Mrs 
Lindsay's hand to her brow. 

" I would have loved him/' sobbed the girl. 
'' Oh, why did God take him away when I 
wanted to love him .^ " 

Mrs Lindsay kissed her : she was a gentle, 
tender - hearted woman, who could ill refuse 
any suppliant. 

" Will you let me stay ? " whispered Gris- 
elda. " I want to serve you." 

" Janet will be here at half-past nine," said 
Mrs Lindsay, hesitating. '' I will hear what 
Janet thinks about it. But you are a sort of 
niece. Your brother Henry was my dear hus- 
band's nephew. You must stay to-night, at 
any rate. Henry lived with us when he was 
a boy. You remind me of him." 

" I never knew Henry much," said Griselda. 
" Were you sorry about him ? Will you let 
me try and make up for him too ? " 

" Ralph was very fond of Henry," said the 
old lady : ** we all were, till he got among bad 
companions, and obliged us to be ashamed of 
him. Don't talk of Henry to Janet, dear; she 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. II7 

never forgave him as much as I did. It was 
all caused by bad companions. He was so 
easily led. And he gave up Ralph for wild 
young men, who ruined him. There was one 
in particular to whom he always attributed 
his ruin himself — a Mr Philip Temple, who 
chained a Q^reat influence over him. I have 
heard Ralph say of that bad man that — but, 
my dear, what is the matter ? We are talking 
too much of these painful things while you are 
tired and weak. Come and have some tea : 
we will make some more for Janet when she 
comes in. My dear child, don't cry like this. 
What is the matter } Is it anything in par- 
ticular I said ? I am sure we will all try to 
forget the past, and ask God to forgive it." 

'' Let me stay and work for you," said 
Griselda. 

*' I hope Janet will like the plan," murmured 
poor Mrs Lindsay. *' I am very lonely now 
when she is away, without my Emily. We 
could take care of each other, if Janet likes it." 

They had tea together, the old lady and the 
stranger girl, and then they sat quietly before 



Il8 A DREAMER. 

the fire, and Griselda picked up some dropped 
stitches In the stocking Mrs Lindsay was knit- 
ting for Janet. 

At length a sound was heard in the hall, 
and the mother rose doubtfully. 

" That is Janet," she said : " my dear, I 
will go and speak to her, and will you make 
her tea ? — one spoonful she likes — no more, 
please, dear." 

Griselda, left alone, again felt nervous. 
Janet's face was more clearly before her mind 
than it had been ; and the sound of a prolonged 
conversation between her and her mother was 
not reassuring. When at last Janet entered, 
Griselda's courage was almost gone, but she 
came forward with her hands clasped beseech- 
ingly. Pale and trembling though Griselda 
was, she looked strangely graceful and beau- 
tiful in the bare, ugly room ; and the tired, in- 
elegant governess was struck with a sudden 
sense of her own deficiencies in appearance as 
they met. She offered her hand with some 
awkwardness and said nothing. Griselda 
glanced at Mrs Lindsay, who was smiling 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 1 19 

doubtfully, and a few minutes' pause embar- 
rassed them all. 

" I thought you were living with some rela- 
tions," said Janet, abruptly. 

" No ; I have been a sort of teacher at a 
school." 

'* Indeed ! Then you did not resume your 
singing ? " 

'* I could not. My voice is not good now." 

*' Dear, what a good thing!" said Janet, 
pouring out her tea. 

"It wasn't a good thing ; it made me very 
miserable." 

Janet glanced at her mother with an expres- 
sion of " There, you see ; " and again a silence 
followed. 

Then Griselda crept over to Mrs Lindsay 
again. 

'' Will she let me stay ? Oh, Miss Lindsay, 
can't I be of any use to you ? I will do any- 
thing for you. And I will find some work 
that I can make money of, so as to cost you 
nothing. Do let me stay. You are all I have 
left of him " Her voice faltered. 



120 A DREAMER. 

** Let her stay, mamma," said Janet ; " she 
will be a companion to you, perhaps/' 

" I am afraid you thought me unkind that 
day when I left you so suddenly," said Janet, 
presently. " I was sorry to see you ill ; but 
I could not have stayed to nurse you. The 
truth is, I wanted to get home. We were 
dependent on Ralph, and I knew his death 
meant change for us." 

'* I did not think you unkind," said Griselda, 
simply. " I did not think of anything at first, 
and Jessie Henslow was very good to me." 

Then Mrs Lindsay led Griselda up-stairs to 
a little room, small and bare, with a damp, 
fusty smell, that seemed a palace to Griselda, 
after the room full of school-girls in which she 
had long groaned for peace and solitude. 

" I hope you will be able to make yourself 
comfortable here, dear child," said gentle Mrs 
Lindsay. 

Mrs Austin, the devoted and successful 
schoolmistress, was not a little disturbed by 
Griselda's flight. It was some time before the 
girl was missed, and an hour or two longer 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 121 

ere the note she had left behind her was 
found. 

Mrs Austin was very much grieved ; but 
she was also much hurt and annoyed. She 
had been deceived in the girl. And then 
the scandal to be caused by such an affair ! 
Nothing of this sort had ever happened at 
Cromingden before. It was unpardonable on 
Griselda's part, when she knew she had only 
to express a wish in order to gain her liberty. 
It just showed what the " world's " training 
was. One sentence in her letter was true. 
She was not a '' suitable person " to be among 
the dear girls. 

Of course the fact that the companion had 
run away was hushed up as much as possible ; 
but it oozed out nevertheless; and it also tran- 
spired that the culprit had been an actress, and 
a very questionable sort of person. 

Mrs Austin lost several of her best pupils 
In consequence of the scandal, and very nat- 
urally cherished a secret bitterness against 
Griselda ever afterwards. 



122 



CHAPTER IV. 

Griselda was soon firmly established at Ivy 
Cottage. The vacant niche was there, and 
she filled it. A very quiet home she had 
found, with duties simple and few : with no 
excitement to make one day different from 
another. Such a home has cramped many 
an eager soul, longing to take its flight 
skyward : such a dull routine has blinded 
many eyes to glimpses of a higher light, 
and has engrossed many a naturally noble 
spirit by petty and sordid trivialities. But 
to Griselda, with her broken wings and 
storm -tossed heart, the quiet was inexpres- 
sively sweet. True, she was restless at times, 
especially when the first devotion to her new 
friends had palled a little, and the first repose 
of her wearied soul had renewed her strength. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 123 

There were times when she longed to fly away 
once more, and mingle in the storm and bustle 
of the world : times when Mrs Lindsay wearied 
her, and Janet grated upon her, and her whole 
life seemed tasteless and useless. But new 
feelings rose, and dissatisfaction was quenched 
in peace. If enthusiastic devotion for duty's 
sake failed, love waxed stronger and mightier ; 
and little ministrations, performed at first as a 
sacrifice to Ralph, were done at last for affec- 
tion's own sweet sake. If Mrs Lindsay ceased 
to be an impersonation of righteousness to be 
propitiated, or a lay figure to be served as 
the representative of another, she became to 
Griselda what she was in truth — a gentle, lov- 
ing, rather feeble woman, whose burdens need- 
ed carrying by the strong, because she her- 
self was weak. And Janet was more than the 
stern, righteous daughter, a model to be imi- 
tated, if not a tender woman to be loved : she 
became the true and valued friend, whose ang- 
ularities were forgotten in the beauty of her 
self-sacrificing goodness. Griselda was still 
a pale, sorrowful girl, with pathetic eyes, occa- 



124 A DREAMER. 

sionally gleaming with the fire of deep impul- 
sive feeling. She lived a life full of monot- 
onous, homely, often tiresome trifles ; but she 
was quietly happy. She felt herself wanted, 
and very soon she felt herself loved. Griselda 
had never been used to home love, and, with- 
out knowing it, she had pined all her life for 
such. Now the bare knowledo^e that Mrs 
Lindsay clung to her, and that Janet allowed 
and liked her to cling to her, made the cottage 
a happy home to the orphan girl. Mrs Lind- 
say took her to her heart at once, making a 
daughter of her ; but Janet was more interest- 
ing than Mrs Lindsay; and Griselda smiled 
to herself sometimes when, long before their 
affection for each other was expressed, she 
found herself looking forward to Janet's even- 
ings at home with almost as much eagerness 
as Mrs Lindsay herself 

It was a new experience to Janet to find 
this sweet, young presence In her home, need- 
ing protection, love, and forgiveness. Gris- 
elda became a constant source of interest In 
the governess's monotonous life — some one to 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 125 

be thought of, planned for, guided, and per- 
haps reproved. 

" A most unsuitable wife for poor dear 
Ralph," said Janet to her mother ; '' but still, 
who could wonder at his fancying her ? I 
assure you, when I caught sight of her at the 
window to-day watching for me, and when 
I saw how her great eyes lighted up with 
that pretty, childish pleasure, I felt as If I 
understood for the first time how men fall in 
love." 

" I hope," said Mrs Lindsay, In some alarm, 
'' no one will fall in love with her here." 

" There isn't any one to do It," said Janet, 
discontentedly : '' we see so little of any of 
the townspeople, and we have no neighbours 
of our own rank, except that old man at the 
Moat. By the way, Griselda has made Dr 
Anderson's acquaintance. He asked her to 
go and see the Moat some day. It will be a 
long walk for her." 

" But you don't think, Janet," said Mrs 
Lindsay, her alarm increasing, *' that Dr 
Anderson would think of becoming " 



126 A DREAMER. 

"Her lover, mamma?'' said Janet, laugh- 
ing. *' No ; that is an idea that would never 
enter any head but yours, I think. Griselda 
is quite safe with Dr Anderson, and they have 
struck up a friendship over their music. I 
should like to see more of our only neigh- 
bour. He is an interesting kind of man, I 
think." 

'' I fancied he was going away on account 
of his rheumatism." 

" He is always threatening to do so. Per- 
haps we shall get some more lively neighbours 
then ; or perhaps the owner — I always forget 
his name — will come himself." 

"It must be a very dull place to live," 
sighed Mrs Lindsay. 

" I don't see why it should be duller than 
this," said Janet, energetically. *' It is a pity 
all the townspeople are so vulgar. If it wasn't 
for the Wards, I don't know what would be- 
come of us. Come in, Griselda. How damp 
your cloak is, child ! Why will you go out in 
these fogs ? " 

" Because I have so little to do," answered 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 12/ 

Griselda. " Why don't you get me some 
more pupils, Janet ? I consider myself a suc- 
cessful teacher. Mrs Ward thinks the girls 
are making wonderful progress. '* 

*' I was just saying it is a calamity that the 
inhabitants of Ponchester are so hopelessly 
vulgar." 

'' No, Janet, they are only provincial ; and 
what does it matter ? I could teach their 
children, I daresay — if they are rather little. 
I don't like big girls who stare at one, and 
are old enough to wonder at one, and not 
old enough to understand." 

" I don't think teaching is your vocation, 
Griselda, though you do it well enough." 

" I suppose one would like one's vocation," 
said Griselda ; " and I certainly don't like 
teaching. What is my vocation, Janet ? I 
have never been able to find out." 

" Nor I mine," said Janet, sighing. 

Griselda did not obtain any other pupils : 
perhaps neither she nor Janet searched for 
them very diligently. But she found other 
work that suited her better than teaching, and 



128 A DREAMER. 

was satisfied that she was no burden to Mrs 
Lindsay. Her cousin, Agnes, now a widow, 
renewed her offer of furnishing Griselda with 
money, but it was refused as before. '* If 
ever I need it, Agnes, I will let you know," 
wrote Griselda ; " but I should rather not at 
present." 

And Agnes, piqued, said no more. 

Mrs Mortimer, soon after her husband's 
death, had consulted his uncle, the clergyman, 
about Griselda. She told him the cause of 
her parting from Philip long ago, represent- 
ing, however, her own conduct in as favour- 
able a light as possible. 

Mr Temple smiled a little. 

'* I understand what Phil meant, Agnes ; 
but I don't agree with him. Certainly now, 
if your cousin is satisfied, as she appears 
to be, it is not incumbent on you to do 
more." 

" I should like to gain poor Philip's appro- 
bation," said Mrs Mortimer, pensively, but 
with her usual grand air. 

Mr Temple, soon after visiting his son in 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 1 29 

his hermitage, repeated to him this conversa- 
tion with Agnes. PhiHp held his peace, but 
thought his version of the story would have 
been a little different from hers. But when 
Mr Temple told him, perhaps not without 
a little design in his words, which there was 
no reason to suppose could be shared by 
Agnes, Philip rose, with his eyes flashing 
wrathfully. 

" My dear father, I beg you will not allow 
her to do anything for the sake of my approba- 
tion," he replied; and Mr Temple said no more. 

So everything continued as it was, the only 
difference being that Agnes was a rich widow, 
Instead of an unhappy wife. 

Mrs Temple was a little shocked by the 
evident slightness of her grief for Oliver. 

*' I never before saw a widow liorhten her 
mourning on the exact day prescribed by 
custom,'' she said, severely. " I should be 
very sorry to think of Philip's widow mourn- 
ing for him in that manner; and I am sure 
poor Oliver was the best of husbands — after 
you, my dear Arthur, of course." 

VOL. III. I 



30 



CHAPTER V. 

The beginning of Griselda's acquaintance 
with Dr Anderson of Alton Moat was in 
this wise. 

One wintry afternoon, when passing by- 
Alton Church, she perceived the door open, 
and wandered In for ten minutes' rest before 
proceeding homewards. She had seated her- 
self in one of the large square pews, and had 
fallen half asleep in the gloom and stillness, 
when the organ's swelling notes fell on her 
ear. There was irresistible fascination for 
her in the sound, and forgetting all else, she 
sat quietly in the gathering darkness and lis- 
tened, while the organist played one solemn 
strain after another from the grand pages of 
Beethoven, Bach, or Handel. At last the 
music ceased, and Griselda heard the sudden 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 131 

closing of the keys, and the rapid pushing 
back of the player's seat, followed by a sharp 
** That'll do " to the boy who had been blow- 
ing. Griselda started from her pew, and 
passed rapidly up the church, till she was 
standing by the organist's side. She knew 
Dr Anderson by sight. He was old and 
eccentric, and had played the organ in Alton 
Church ever since he had rented the Moat 
from Mr Temple. 

" Well, what may you want ? " said the 
old man, as Griselda appeared out of the 
gloom. 

*' Please, don't stop yet," she pleaded ; " it 
is so beautiful, and I have heard no music for 
a long time." 

'' Yes ; it's a fine instrument," responded 
Dr Anderson. *' You sometimes find such in 
out-of-the-way country churches, usually the 
gift of some generous man of a former genera- 
tion — not bought by the parishioners in the 
one-and-twopenny fashion of our time. You 
don't buy good organs that way : you buy 
cheap ones." 



132 A DREAMER. 

" Please, go on," said Griselda, reopening 
the keys, and looking wistfully at the retiring 
blower. 

" My dear young lady, I am under bondage 
to my housekeeper. This Is my dinner-hour, 
and I dine off fish on Friday." 

*' Do you ? " said Griselda, wondering if he 
were a Catholic. 

'' Fish is the natural food of man. The 
Japanese eat fish only. They are the nation 
of the future, you know, for civilisation travels 
westward." 

Griselda pondered on the position of Japan, 
being rather disposed to consider it in the 
East. 

*' My fish will be spoiled," said Dr Ander- 
son. " Good night." 

*' One chord more," pleaded Griselda. 

*' Not another note. But, look here — you 
are my friend Mrs Lindsay's new young lady, 
are you not ? " he demanded, suspiciously, as 
if she were perhaps some doubtfully disposed 
siren. 

'' Yes," said Griselda, much amused. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 133 

'' To be sure ; and a musician, I have 
heard ? " 

" Yes," she replied, gravely ; " I am a 
musician." 

" I am glad to hear it. There are not many 
musicians in this county. I only know my- 
self, and my young friend who taught me 
about the Japanese, and his musical acquire- 
ments are still chiefly in the potential mood." 

" What is that ? " said Griselda, bewildered. 

'' Might, could, would, or should have been 
a musician. I think, if you look in Murray's 
Grammar, you will find that called the poten- 
tial mood. But he is appreciative very ex- 
ceedingly, and can play, not without signs of 
talent, on the organ. I consider the organ 
the only instrument worth playing. Do you 
play the organ, my dear young lady ? " 

'' A little," said Griselda. 

" Then as I must go to my fish, you can 
play to yourself : the boy will blow as long as 
you like for a threepenny-bit. He's the only 
reasonable blower I ever had." 

" May I really ? " said Griselda. 



134 A DREAMER. 

" Bless you, my dear young lady ! play as 
much as you like. I will give you the key 
any day you come for it. The organ (fine in- 
strument) needs exercise. Do you want some 
music ? There is only a hymn-book here. I 
don't leave my folios in the church to get 
mouldy, and to-night I was playing from 
memory. Send the boy to fetch you some. 
I have shoals ; but so, no doubt, have you." 

** Not such a great deal of this sort," said 
Griselda, seating herself ** I should like to 
borrow some of yours, if I may. But to-night 
— I will play out of my head, I think. ^' 

" That's right. You are a composer ? Then 
you are a musician. I am not, I can only 
play other people's inventions, and that is not 
being a musician. You don't call a fine reciter 
of verse a poet ? " 

*' I don't know," said Griselda ; *' and I think 
you must be a musician to be able to play other 
people's things so well. You saw right down 
into their hearts, I think." 

"That's a fine chord you struck just then. 
I can see you are a musician. If you will 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 135 

allow me, I will come and learn of you, and 
you shall borrow all my music. Is it a bar- 
gain?" 

" No," said Griselda, laughing. " I shall 
want to learn of you. I know only very little 
of music at all, I think, and just nothing of this 
sort." 

*' None of us go deeply into music," said 
the doctor, dogmatically, " be we musicians or 
strummers." 

'* Ah ! some one said that to me once," said 
Griselda, softly : '' he said we should be ages 
studying music before we could learn the 
music of the spheres, which now we cannot 
even hear ; and when we had learnt that, we 
should perceive immeasurable heights of music 
beyond.'' 

" Ah ! very true ; but the music of the 
spheres is humbug." 

" No ; why should it be ? He told me 
about that too ; only as I know nothing about 
science — he does — I daresay I shall not repeat 
it right, and you will think it nonsense. It 
was somethinof like this. I think he said all 



136 A DREAMER. 

things moving made a noise ; only some noises 
are too soft for us to hear, and some too loud. 
If you roar at a very little insect, it does not 
hear anything; and we can't perceive the noise 
of the world turning round, because it is so 
loud — only, perhaps, it makes a background 
for other noises, and we should miss it if it 
stopped. And he said that all rapid, regular 
vibrations made musical sounds, and as the 
world moves very regularly, its sound would 
be intense music, and it and all the other 
heavenly sounds from the sun and the stars 
would harmonise together in the noblest 
chords. Only we can't hear it yet. I am 
afraid I have not told you well." 

" Perhaps your friend is right," said the 
organist. "No doubt he has considered the 
question of an atmospherical medium, or the 
want of it. But who is this oracle ? " 

" Oh, he was an old friend of mine ; but I 
don't know anything about him now," said 
Griselda, dropping her voice, and forgetting to 
consider how the atmospherical difficulty had 
been surmounted. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 137 

" You must come and see me at the Moat 
some day, my dear young lady," said Dr 
Anderson. 

" I should like it. I thought Alton Moat 
belonged to — Mr Temple." 

" He lets part of it. Do you know him ? " 

" No, not him. Does he ever come here ? " 

" Very seldom. He is a hard-working par- 
son. The Moat is an old family place." 

" I should only see you at the Moat ? " asked 
Griselda. 

'' Only me, of course, and the servants. 
Why ? Have you heard " 

" Oh no, nothing. I should like to come 
and see you very much." 

" There's a little organ in the chapel there. 
You may play on it, I daresay, if you like. 
Good-night, my dear young lady." 

Dr Anderson went out, and Griselda was 
left to play as long as she pleased in the 
church. But she paused a moment to con- 
sider something. 

" I should like to see the place he told me 
of," she said to herself; ''and there is no one 



138 A DREAMER. 

there but that Dr Anderson. He seems rather 
a curious man. I wonder what he thought I 
might have heard about the Moat ? " 

The Idea of visiting old Dr Anderson and 
the quaint house where he Hved was quite an 
excitement for Griselda ; and she put off the 
expedition for several days, that the little 
novelty might not be used up too soon. 

Dr Anderson made her very welcome when 
at last one afternoon she appeared. He took 
her over the old place, showed her the draw- 
bridge and portcullis still standing, and the 
many curious old - world contrivances which 
remained unchanged In their original situa- 
tions. The winding stairs, the secret pas- 
sages, the high, deeply-recessed windows, were 
all delightful to Griselda, who could have 
roamed about the old house for hours un- 
tired. But at the foot of one staircase Dr 
Anderson stopped her. 

'' Ah ! you mustn't go up there. That leads 
to the tower apartments, and they are not let. 
I daren't venture up there without leave. And 
the restriction annoys me ; for the large room 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 139 

In the tower is the library, full of the most 
charming old books. A certain old Temple, 
a few generations ago, was a bookworm, and 
an astrologer. His tastes have been inherited 
by one of his descendants, I think. Come Into 
the chapel here. That is common property ; 
not that we often meet, however," he added, 
unintelligibly. 

Presently the old man took Griselda into 
the garden. Here they found David, who was 
older and more bent than the doctor, but, 
nevertheless, strong and hearty. 

" My dear," said Dr Anderson, '' how 
should you like to be Mistress gardener 
here ? " 

** Very much," said Griselda, smiling ; " I 
should work a revolution. I see a ereat 
many Intruders settled in the country, and 
the rightful inhabitants are oppressed and 
down-trodden." 

"Well, my dear, will you be despot for 
a while, eh ? Come, now ; a garden would be 
a source of interest to you, wouldn't it ? Fond 
of flowers ? " 



140 A DREAMER. 

" Oh yes," said Griselda, sitting down on a 
low wall and looking from one old man to the 
other In some bewilderment. She was in full 
view of the house, and the last gleam from the 
sinkinpf sun fell on her. 

" Place ain't never been properly cultivated, 
Miss," said David, " not since the old General's 
young days, least how. Fine bit o' garden 
mould it is, too." 

" My landlord wishes It put in order," said 
Dr Anderson. " Bless my soul ! I have no 
time to study flowers, nor legs to stand in the 
wet grass, nor patience to be bothered with it 
all. You must do It, child. You w^ant air and 
exercise, I can see. Come over once or twice 
a-week and direct David's operations." 

'' But I know nothing about gardens," said 
Griselda. 

" Bless the child ! would you go and lay out 
this garden with grottoes and conservatories, 
and gimcracks ? All the Temples would be 
down on you. If you did. Have the weeds 
pulled up, my dear, and the hedge clipped, 
and the grass mown, and plant a few cabbage- 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 141 

roses and stocks. David knows all about it. 
Don't you, David ? " 

'' I don't think I am wanted," said Griselda, 
" but I should dearly like to come." 

" It's dull work, Miss," said David, '' to do 
up a garden, with only the memory of the 
ways o' dead and gone folks to help in the 
arranging. The doctor ain't got the patience 
to look at flowers ; and him there is grievous 
changed of late. He were fond of flowers 
once, he were. If one of the family took an 
interest in it, it 'ud be different," pursued 
David, grumblingly. 

'' I am related to the family," said Griselda. 
" Did you know Mr Oliver Temple ? His 
wife is my cousin." 

*' Her as jilted our Master Philip, and broke 
his young heart ? " said David, stamping his 
foot emphatically ; " she's a bad lot. And for 
his sake, poor young gentleman, I'm sorry 
as she's a widow. She'd never work him no 
good." 

Griselda could frame no reply to this sudden 
suggestion ; and Dr Anderson, who disliked 



142 A DREAMER. 



David's garrulity about the family, drew her 
away, saying, "You shall begin your garden- 
ing next week, my dear young lady. Now 



come in.'' 



Dr Anderson left her in his sanctum, to 
rummage among his music portfolios, or to 
play on his piano. 

Griselda was glad to be left to her own 
thoughts for a little while. There was a 
strange interest to her in the whole place ; she 
felt as if she were visiting some spot seen 
in her dreams. The one conversation with 
Philip Temple, in which he had told her of 
his grandfather's home, and his grandfather's 
quiet funeral, stood out in her mind with 
unwonted distinctness, and made every stone 
in the quaint old house a link with the past. 
Little had she then thought that she should 
one day come seeking peace in this dull 
eastern county, where the grey landscape was 
silent and sad as is the quiet land of death. 
She stood in the narrow window, and watched 
the sun sinking to its early rest below the flat 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. I43 

green pastures, which stretched for miles be- 
yond the desolate garden, and the still water 
in the moat surrounding it. All through the 
day it had rained at intervals, and the grass 
and rushes still bent beneath their weight of 
tears, but now each drop glistened in the glory 
of the dying sun, and the sky shone like 
molten gold over the soft greens of the grass 
and the tender greys of the leafless willows. 
She watched till the sun had vanished, and 
the world was steeped in the gloom of the 
winter twilight. The sky was still clear and 
pure as opal ; all the light was there, the 
country lying in shadowed, scarcely broken 
lines beneath it, the dark form of one high 
mill towering up against the heavens, and a 
red light gleaming from the windows of the 
little house beside it. 

Griselda pressed her brow against the win- 
dow-panes, and she cried softly to herself, with 
the quiet soothing tears, that come as balm 
to aching eyes, and bring rest to a troubled 
heart. When Dr Anderson returned, he won- 



144 A DREAMER. 

dered to see her weeping, and wondered to 
hear her say — 

*' I have had such pleasant thoughts. There 
are good spirits dwelling in this house, I think. 
I have watched the sunset to-nIo[ht ; and I 
think — I have understood it." 



145 



CHAPTER VI. 

Late that evening, Dr Anderson having 
finished a book he was reading on the mate- 
rial employed in the ancient structures at 
Stonehenge, was warming his hands at the 
low fire in the hall, before facing the draughty 
staircase on his way to bed. 

Some one came noiselessly from the dark 
passage which led to the winding stair of the 
tower, and approaching the doctor, laid a hand 
on his shoulder. The old man started, but 
his fright was more affected than real. 

" Bless my soul ! what's the matter now ? " 
he said, peevishly. The intruder, who was 
equipped for a walk, dropped on a carved 
wooden chair, the polished arm of which, 
representing a dragon, gleamed curiously in 
the flashing firelight. 

VOL. III. K 



146 A DREAMER. 

He was looking at the burning embers, from 
which now and then a tongue of flame started 
up and flickered for an instant, illuminating 
the swinging brass lamps, and the old swords 
and suits of armour hung on or standing by 
the walls. 

Dr Anderson paid no attention to the new- 
comer, but still keeping his back to him, 
warmed his hands, and grumbled inaudibly. 

" What do you want ? " he said presently, 
frowning. The frown and the grumbling were 
affectation ; he had no ill-will in his heart. 
The fitful flame had arisen at that moment 
from the consuming log, and lighted up the 
doctor's puckered yellowish face, and long 
skinny hands, spread out to the blaze. His 
companion laughed. 

'' You call me the astrologer. Do you know 
you look uncommonly like an alchemist ? What 
have you got in that enchanted pot beside the 
dogs ? " 

" A remedy against hay fever, which I am 
preparing for the summer." 

'' Ah, I am sorry I asked. You suit this 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 147 

place, doctor, in appearance — far better than 
would the Rev. Arthur Temple, with his white 
tie, and his anxiety for souls. Ah," he con- 
tinued, " if you knew the oddity of living here 
with only you three old people ! Tell David, 
I will not hear of a young man to help in the 
garden. It would be incongruity's self." 

" Tve got him a young woman, though," said 
Dr Anderson. 

*' I'm not ready to talk about that yet," 
said the other hastily, " though, to tell the 
truth, it is what I came about. You are a 
prosaic man, Dr Anderson : you don't know 
your privileges. I lived in a castle in the 
air once : you are living in a fairy tale. I am 
only trying to do so. I am a sort of intruder 
and spectator — the person to write it, in fact." 

" Your talk is even less pertinent than 
usual," said Dr Anderson, drily. 

" Have you heard a solitary horseman go 
by the last two mornings between three and 
four o'clock ? " 

"No, I was asleep ; but I can tell you who 
he is. Farmer " 



148 A DREAMER. 

„ Hush ! I don't want to know who he is. 
I know^ who he might be — in the fairy tale." 
Philip Temple leaned his chin on his fist, and 
stared still fixedly into the fire. Presently he 
struck the log with a stick he carried in his 
hand, and a host of sparks flew from it, up 
the wide chimney. 

" Ah ! " said Philip, drawing a long breath. 
He took out a MS. from his pocket, and laid it 
on the table beside him. '' You will find his 
history there. I went out — I mean, I might 
have gone out — and accosted that solitary 
horseman. His appearance was as that of 
a man, but I saw at once he belonged not to 
the ranks of mortal men. He was followed by 
no shadow, but by a long beam of light, col- 
oured with a colour never seen on earth. On 
his breast flashed a diamond mirror in which 
was imaged the history of his past. I could 
not read it all. I went with him as he gal- 
loped on — went as one goes in dreams, with- 
out touching the ground, swiftly, silently, un- 
erringly. You can read it all there," said 
Philip, holding out the paper to the doctor. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 149 

** Did you come to tell me this ? " asked Dr 
Anderson, with a tinge of contempt. 

** No," said Philip, wearily. He rose and 
turned his back to the fire, leaning his elbows 
on the carved mantelpiece. Dr Anderson 
waited patiently. His affected crossness had 
vanished with Philip's affected levity. 

" Well, my dear fellow ? " 

*' You had a young lady here to-day, doctor." 

*' I had, — a Miss Mortimer. I should like 
you to see her. A pretty little lass — very 
quiet." 

*' I did see her. I saw her talking to you 
and David in the garden. Is she staying in 
Ponchester ? " 

" She lives with my old friend whom you 
will not see, Mrs Lindsay." 

" Lindsay ? I did not know her name was 
Lindsay. Who is she .'^ " 

" An old widow lady, with a daughter a 
governess. Very sensible people. This young 
lady is a relative, 1 presume, and has lately 
come to live with them." 

Philip was silent for some time. 



150 A DREAMER. 

*' She is a musician," said the doctor. 

"Yes." 

*' You know her, then ? " 

'' Will shfe come here again ? " asked Philip, 
abruptly. He was not looking at the old man 
beside him, and Dr Anderson could study his 
face, but it told him little. 

'' I hope so • I have put this gardening 
business into her hands, — your father's new 
crotchet." 

*' Not my father's crotchet ; mine. I told 
him I could bear that wilderness no longer. 
And this young lady will be here again some- 
times ? " 

*' She will, I believe. Come down and see 
her next time. She looks suitable enough for 
a fairy tale." 

" Look here, Dr Anderson," said Philip, 
presently ; '' you must do something for me, 
and you must enlist David and Margaret into 
the service also. Will you undertake it ? " 

-What?" 

- First of all, did you tell her I was 
here ? " 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 15 1 

" I don't remember having had any occasion 
to speak of you. I did not suppose you were 
Hkely to interest her. If you choose to shut 
yourself up, I am not the one to gossip about 
you," said the doctor, querulously. 

" Listen to me, then," said Philip. " You 
and David and Margaret — you are none of 
you to mention me to her. Then she can be 
free to come and go as she pleases." 

'' A very strange injunction." 

*' If she knows I am here," pursued Philip, 
earnestly, '' either I must go, which I do not 
wish, or she will not come here, which — we 
shall all regret, I think. You will do this for 
me, Dr Anderson ? " 

" Thereby hangs a tale, I suppose," said the 
doctor, lighting his candle. 

'* Thereby hangs a tale, of course. I shall 
trust you then, and you will explain to David 
and Margaret." 

*' She may be told by some one else." 

" That would be unavoidable. I must 
chance it. But I daresay she will not be 
told. There are few people who know I am 



152 A DREAMER. 

here. Only listen : if ever she does find out, 
give me information. Good night, doctor. 
Come, Duke," and he vanished with his faith- 
ful dog into the night. 

The doctor went to his bed, wondering at 
the young man's strange fancies. But he was 
not of an inquisitive nature, for which reason 
he suited Philip Temple better than did most 
people. 



153 



CHAPTER VII. 

It was late in the spring-time of the following 
year. Dr Anderson was laid up with ague, 
and seldom left his sanctum with the piano 
and the folios of music. He was apparently 
growing misanthropic, and seldom spoke to 
any one but David. The solitary inhabitant 
of the tower occasionally sent him down a 
book or a MS. *' to amuse himself withal;" 
but beyond this there was little communica- 
tion between the two men. Once, when the 
old doctor had been really ill, Philip came 
down to his bedside, and nursed him with the 
assiduity of a son ; but when the illness had 
run its course, and the convalescent needed 
no more attention, the younger man retreated 
again to his own regions, and was as invisible 
as before. He seldom left the house by day; 



154 A DREAMER. 

but at night, after the three old people had 
gone to bed, he would come down the wind- 
ing stair, and softly letting himself out, would 
wander under the starlight for hours. 

He frequently roamed restlessly about the 
house, apparently seeking something. What 
it was it was not very clear. Sometimes he 
was satisfied with a dish of rosebuds, hidden 
on a ledge, high up at an angle of the narrow 
staircase ; or with an old book displaced and 
marked by a paper bearing the initials G. M., 
and the number of the page last read ; or with 
sheets of music scattered near the organ in the 
disused chapel, that still, to his ears, echoed 
with the sweet tones of a low sad voice. At 
times he touched the piano himself, trying to 
recall some air he had listened to unseen, when 
the unconscious owner of the scattered music- 
sheets had played or sung to herself only, she 
thought. It was always at night he played 
himself after the three old people had gone 
to bed. They knew his habits and did not 
mind him, and the piano made little dis- 
turbance. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 155 

Days often passed in which Philip spoke to 
no one but Margaret, who brought him his 
meals, and watched over him carefully ; but 
when he did speak it was always kindly and 
generally with apparent gaiety. If you had 
listened outside his door you would have heard 
many a playful, affectionate word to his dog, 
the faithful Duke of Wellington, who never 
left his side, and who, though still robust, 
was quite old enough to be in keeping with 
the ancient house, and the three old people 
down-stairs. 

It was late in the spring-time, I say, and 
Mr Temple had come to Alton Moat to see 
his son. He sat all day in the library with 
him. Neither of them spoke much. Mr 
Temple never worried Philip with questions 
now, and he was rewarded with little scraps 
of confidence, very precious to him. Occa- 
sionally Philip would break out in one of his 
old dreamy parables, his eyes fixed far away 
on the distance ; or if his father started some 
topic, he would talk for a few minutes with his 
old quick interest; but for the most part the 



156 A DREAMER. 

interest died out after two or three sentences, 
and the dreams became too dreamy for words. 
Mr Temple forced neither. 

It was getting late in the long May after- 
noon, and the level rays of the sun were 
illuminating the flower-beds, and the bright 
green of the sward. The birds were singing 
in full chorus, and a gentle wind was blowing 
in through the open window. Philip went 
over to it, and resting his head against the 
wall, looked out and listened. 

Presently he turned and stretched out his 
hand to his father. Mr Temple joined him, 
smiling, took the hand in his, and looked out 
and listened too. 

There was some one sitting under the rosy 
thorn-tree, in the sunny corner near the Moat. 
Some one had begun to sing a sweet, sad 
song : — 

*' Die Schwalben seh' ich schon im stillen Flug 
Die Hauser — nur das meine nicht — umschweben ; 
O warme Luft, und doch nicht warm genug, 
Verpflanzte Blumen wieder zu beleben ! 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 157 

Der Baum, der seine jungen Sprossen schlug, 
Was wird dem Fremdling er im Herbste geben ? 
Vielleicht ein Kreuz und einen Todtehschrein — 
Mich friert, mich friert ! — Ich mocht' zu Hause sein ! " 

Philip knew the voice well — changed, weak- 
ened, but still inexpressibly melodious and 
rich. It was still Griselda's voice. 

Philip, kneeling by the window, leaned his 
head against the wall, and listened with his 
eyes closed and his lips parted in a smile. 
Presently he looked up and met his father's 
kind eyes watching him, while he smiled sadly 
upon him and listened too. The hands still 
clasped, pressed each other fondly. Then the 
voice ceased, and his father's kindness brought 
back the old sad memories to Philip. The 
quick flush rose on his cheek, and the veins in 
his forehead started. He rose and pressed his 
hand to his brow, as if in pain, then turned 
away, and buried his head in his arm, leaning 
against the chimney-piece. Mr Temple said 
nothing. He looked out of the window again 
and saw the singer gliding slowly among the 



158 A DREAMER. 

flower-beds. She had a slender, graceful 
figure, robed in black, and some soft white 
garment round her shoulders. In her arm 
she carried a basket filled with flowers. Her 
head was bare, and the sun was gilding the 
short, loose brown curls. That was Philip's 
little Griselda. Mr Temple had not seen her 
before. 



159 



CHAPTER VIII. 

On the following morning Ivlr Temple en- 
countered Griselda walking across the fields 
towards the Moat. He accosted her. 

'' Miss Mortimer, I believe." 

'* Yes ; I am Miss Mortimer," said Griselda, 
wonderingly. 

Mr Temple smiled. *' You do not know 
me," he said. 

She looked up at the benevolent, friendly 
face, and liked it : the kind, cheerful tones 
reassured her. He was a clergyman, she 
perceived, and a gentleman. 

" Not yet," answered Griselda. 

The reply was very naive, but very demure. 
It pleased Mr Temple. 

" I will tell you who I am presently," he 



l6o A DREAMER. 

said. *' Are you going towards the Moat ? 
Let me carry these heavy books for you." 

'' They are Dr Anderson's," said Griselda. 
" I am taking them back to him from the 
church : he lets me borrow his books. I am 
the organist/' she said, with gravity. 

*' You have taken to sacred music, then, in- 
stead of secular music ? That used to be your 
business, I think ? " He spoke and looked 
very kindly. 

" I lost my voice," said Griselda, faltering, 
though impulsive. 

Mr Temple in his heart echoed the usual 
judgment that the loss was a good thing for 
her ; but he had heard the quiver in her 
voice as she spoke, and he guessed that she 
did not altogether share in the prevailing 
opinion. ' 

" Poor child," he said, gently. 

She looked up, pleased with the unwonted 
sympathy, and came a little closer to the clergy- 
man's side. He went on tenderly and deli- 
cately. 

" And you are living here with Ralph's 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. l6l 

mother and sister, and trying to make them 
comfortable ? You lost poor Ralph ? " 

** Did you know him ? " whispered Griselda. 

"Yes, I knew him. Poor fellow!" They 
were silent for several minutes. 

" You see I know a little about you," said 
Mr Temple presently, seeing her glance again 
at him Inquiringly : " I have heard of you 
from my son. You know my boy, I think : 
Philip Temple." 

" I used to know him," she answered, quietly. 

They entered the old house now, and stood 
together in the hall. A variety of conflicting 
emotions were agitating Griselda. Mr Temple 
did not seem Inclined to say more. She thought 
he probably expected her to leave him now for 
Dr Anderson. But the longing to hear some- 
thing of Philip was too strong. 

'' How Is he ? " she asked presently, In a 
very low voice. 

Mr Temple had no difficulty In guessing 
whom she meant by " he." There was more 
than kindly interest in the smile with which 
he replied — 

VOL. III. L 



l62 A DREAMER. 

** Pretty well now on the whole, I think." 

*' Has he been ill ? " said Griselda quickly, 
with a frightened look in her eyes. 

" No, my dear child, not ill. But he has 
never been himself quite since — your troubles 
fell upon you both," he said, gently. 

Griselda coloured : the words recalled her 
somewhat to her habitual frame of mind. 

" Then you know about that too," she 
answered, mournfully. 

*' My poor child ! yes ; I know something 
about it. Phil has told me — enough." 

** Mr Temple," said Griselda, speaking with 
sorrowful firmness, and fixing her sad dark 
eyes on him, '*we did wrong: we repented. 
Did he tell you that ? We have been pun- 
ished. I hope," she continued, and now her 
lip quivered — '' I hope he has not suffered 
as I have done. There is no reason why he 
should." 

" Philip has suffered long and deeply ; in 
orreat measure because he knew he had 
brought suffering on you. He will never 
forgive himself" 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 163 

" It was my fault," said Griselda. Mr 
Temple did not know her native vehemence ; 
yet even he felt her quiet, hopeless manner 
very touching. " He ought to be forgiven. 
He knows me too well," she added, softly, "to 
think I would roll the least part of the blame 
on to him : yet I said something like it once. 
I can't remember the exact words, but I made 
him think I hated the sight of him, and — and 
never wished to see him again. It was just 
when poor Ralph was lying dead," she said, 
*' and I was in despair." 

" Philip blames himself very much. He 
saw nothing but justice in that wish of yours. 
He never thought of rebellion against it. Of 
course, it increased his pain — deservedly, per- 
haps. But you are sorry for the words ? If 
you could see him now, in a way that would 
clash with no sad memories, of course — and, I 
do not say, comfort him, but help him ; you 
would do it?" 

Griselda sat down. She looked at Mr 
Temple thoughtfully. 

" I am sorry for the words," she said, pres- 



l64 A DREAMER. 

ently, *' because they hurt him, and he had 
pain enough. But it was better for us not 
to meet." 

Mr Temple made no reply. Apparently he 
accepted her answer. 

" What did you mean," said Griselda, falter- 
ingly, ** when you said he was not quite him- 
self since all that ? " 

''He has lost heart In everything,'' answered 
Mr Temple, quietly; "he seems to have 
changed his whole plan of life, and to have 
abandoned all the work he had set himself 
He shuts himself up from every one, and pores 
all day over old books without speaking a 
word. You did not know he was here ? " 
" Here ? When ? What do you mean ? " 
" He has established himself, with his books, 
In the tower. There he has shut himself up 
for more than a year. When he found out 
that you came here, he Insisted that you 
should not be told about him." 
" But does he never go out ? " 
" Oh yes, sometimes. At night, chiefly." 
** And — and — Mr Temple," said Griselda, in 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 165 

a horrified whisper, coming over and laying 
her hand on the clergyman's arm, while terror 
shone in her dilated eyes, " is he mad ? " 

"My poor child!" said Mr Temple, much 
moved by her distress ; " no, I think not. But 
he wants rousing. It is a morbid, unwhole- 
some condition, and will blight his life if it 
continues. His mother and I — w^e have all 
failed to rouse him more than temporarily. I 
admit that I thought you perhaps could do 
somethinor for him/' 

o 

Griselda resumed her seat, saying nothing. 
Mr Temple turned away. Presently she came 
over again to his side, laying her hand in 
his. 

" Is he here now ? " 

" He is ; up-stairs." 

" Please take me to him," she whispered, 
her eyes brimful of tears ; "just for a minute." 

The clergyman bent down and kissed her 
forehead with fatherly kindness. 

" I heard you singing yesterday in the 
garden," said Mr Temple, apologetically, "and 
Phil showed you to me. I saw you were a 



l66 A DREAMER. 

dear little girl then, and I thought we ought 
to know each other." 

*' Let me go to him," said Griselda, sick at 
heart, and too anxious to think of anything 
else just then. 

He led her up the winding stair to a 
narrow doorway, over which were painted in 
fresco the signs of the zodiac. It was ajar, 
and before they entered, Griselda looked in, 
pausing to collect herself It was a small 
room, many-sided, with two narrow windows, 
one of which faced the west. All through the 
long day no sun shone into the dark, gloomy 
room ; and the windows, such as they were, 
were heavily curtained with some sombre, old- 
fashioned material. There were shelves all 
round the walls, heavily laden with books, most 
of them in antique bindings and of portentous 
size. It was a curious collection of rare 
volumes, both in print and in manuscript, 
some of the latter beautifully illuminated. 
They were most of them abstruse and unin- 
teresting to the general reader, and many of 
them dealt with doubtful subjects and medi- 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 167 

eval superstitions. Along one wall, however, 
was a collection of classical literature, with 
representative works from the best and the 
least known authors ; and these had solid, 
sober, last -century bindings, having been 
gathered together by a member of the family 
who had lived subsequently to the astrologer. 

Several of the volumes had been displaced, 
and were lying open on chairs and tables 
round the room. The big black dog, with 
his paw was guarding one upon the ground. 
Philip himself was seated at the table in the 
west window, poring over a philosophical 
treatise by an obscure Platonist, with a com- 
mentary by a long-forgotten monkish admirer. 
Near him lay some paper, and an inkstand in 
which a pen was stuck ready for use. Now 
and then he jotted down an annotation or a 
remark on a closely-written paper of notes. 
His elbows were on the table, and his brow 
was buried in his hands ; he rarely lifted his 
eyes or relaxed the stern tension of his mouth. 
Griselda, watching him unseen, saw that his 
cheek was sunken ; his eye bright and strained ; 



l68 A DREAMER. 

his hand lean and colourless. He was not the 
strong young man of two or three years ago ; 
he was the sombre, secluded student, whose 
sedentary, indoor life was working mischief in 
a nervous frame. 

For the rest, he affected no eccentricity of 
costume or surrounding ; though he was not 
smoking, his cigar-case lay at hand, and the 
room was by no means free from the odour of 
tobacco. When the dog moved his paw from 
the book, and with a low growl of fatigue 
returned to a recumbent position, the young 
man looked at him and smiled ; and his smile 
was pleasant as of yore. '' Give it up, old 
fellow," said Philip ; " lose my place ; you 
are too old to be of use, aren't you ? " The 
dog wagged his tail twice sleepily, and Philip 
returned to his occupation, the habitual gloom 
settling again on his features. Griselda watch- 
ing, noted it all. 

Presently Philip raised his head again, and 
looked towards the opposite corner of the 
room, his lips tightly compressed, and a slight 
flush rising for a moment on his face. His 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 169 

gaze travelled slowly round the room before 
it returned, somewhat suddenly, to the book, 
an odd look shining from the dark eyes, as if 
their sight did not quite reach to the walls. 

'' That's the expression I don't like," whis- 
pered Mr Temple. "It makes me think there 
is " 

" Let us come in," said the girl, quietly. 

If Mr Temple had anticipated anything like 
a scene in the meeting, he was disappointed. 

Philip looked up as his father entered, and 
on perceiving Griselda, rose to his feet ; he 
was pale, but showed no other sign of agitation. 

" Here is a visitor for you, Phil," said Mr 
Temple, wondering if his son were displeased 
with him. 

Griselda came forward with her old gentle 
smile and held out her hand. Philip took it, 
smilinof also. 

'' You have found me out. Who has be- 
trayed me, I wonder ? Sit down, won't you ? " 

Griselda obeyed. '' What a number of 
books ! " she said, looking round the room. 
'' Have you read all those ? " 



170 A DREAMER. 

" Not yet," said Philip, and took down one 
of the illuminated parchment MSS. to show 
her. " So you have made Griselda's acquaint- 
ance, father ? " he said, turning to Mr Temple. 
*' Let me speak to her alone for a few minutes, 
will you ? You don't mind, Griselda ? " 

'' Not at all," she answered steadily, meeting 
his eyes with a quiet firmness that somewhat 
puzzled Mr Temple. 

He left them for about an hour ; then aeain 
climbed the narrow stair and looked in. 

Griselda had thrown off her hat and her 
gloves, and was sitting at the table opposite 
to Philip. She also had a large volume before 
her, and was reading to him in a low, silvery 
voice, the quaint old words In antique German 
dropping strangely from her young lips. Now 
and then she paused to ask for an explanation ; 
now and then she smiled, and so did Philip. 
A soft west wind blew in at the open window, 
and played with her clustering curls, and with 
it came the scent of violets from a bed in the 
garden below. 

Mr Temple looked with surprise and interest 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 171 

at the pair of students : he would have left 
them again ; but Griselda rose, and began 
tying on her hat, saying she must go home to 
dinner. 

" You will come again, Griselda," said Philip, 
wistfully. 

" Yes," answered Griselda, softly ; '' I will 
come again." 

Mr Temple walked to Ivy Cottage with her, 
but she did not speak of Philip. 

Griselda went into her own room. She was 
not agitated. She removed her hat, and attir- 
ed herself for dinner with the same neatness 
and precision as usual. She tied her locket 
round her throat, the locket she always wore. 
Then with a sudden Impulse she unfastened 
the black ribbon again, and opening the 
locket, disclosed the picture and the two locks 
of twisted hair which it contained. It was her 
own hair blended with Ralph's, and the picture 
was a picture of Ralph. She studied the 
miniature ; then closed her eyes and recalled 
to her memory the well -remembered face — 
the patient, affectionate, lost face, of which the 



172 A DREAMER. 

portrait before her was but an indifferent like- 
ness. Then she raised her head and met her 
own fair face in the mirror before her, deli- 
cately tinted ; with soft shadowy eyes, and 
hair still bright, as it had been long ago. 
Ah, how long it seemed to her — long ago, 
before she had worn a black dress, and had 
lived with Sorrow as her never-failing com- 
panion ! She pressed the portrait to her lips, 
and gazing into the depths of her own sad 
eyes, spoke aloud — not of Ralph. 

" I am orlad I saw him. There is no reason 
now why we should not meet." 

She tied her locket again round her neck, 
and ran down-stairs, some music MSS. in her 
hands, which she wanted to show Mrs Lindsay. 

** You look very well to-day, Griselda,'' said 
Janet, pausing in her work to watch the grace- 
ful figure flitting about the room. *' This hot 
weather suits you, I think." 



1/3 



CHAPTER IX. 

Late one afternoon two or three days later, 
Philip, looking out of his window on the 
sunny garden, saw Griselda sitting under a 
thorn -tree, snowy with blossom. All the 
flowers seemed to have come out at once this 
year. The golden rain of the laburnum min- 
gled with the lilac and fragrant May ; but 
below, primroses still lingered, and the nar- 
cissus and hyacinth still made the air heavy 
with sweetness. No speck of dust had soiled 
the delicacy of the early leaves ; the sun had 
not burned a blade of the grass ; the birds 
were singing over their nests, or settling to 
their peaceful rest till morning. 

As the sweet spring air greeted the lonely 
student in the tower, it brought an invitation 
to the sunny old-fashioned garden, and in- 



1/4 A DREAMER. 

spired a dissatisfaction with the narrow room, 
and the grim, ponderous tomes that were his 
sole companions. PhiHp rose, and descended 
to the garden where Griselda was sitting. Old 
David, whose scythe made a pleasant sound 
in concert with the cawing of the rooks and 
the song of the nightingales and thrushes, 
wondered at him as he passed ; but David 
said nothing. Those three old people who 
lived at Alton Moat very seldom expressed 
astonishment at anything, or mentioned any 
new occurrence to one another, much less to 
outsiders. Margaret, who watched over the 
young master with all the assiduity becoming 
his old nurse, would no more have spoken to 
him of Griselda than to Mrs Lane the laun- 
dress : but Margaret and Dr Anderson, as 
well as David, saw Philip pass with firm rapid 
step to the quiet girl under the thorn -tree; 
and they all felt in their hearts that a new 
page was turned in the history they were 
reading with Interest, if not with excitement. 
They waited quietly for the issue ; they did 
not think a great deal about it, nor take any 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 175 

Steps to further or hinder a result. It took a 
great deal to disturb the even tenor of life at 
Alton Moat. 

Griselda did not speak as Philip joined her, 
but she smiled and made room for him on the 
bench by her side. He preferred the grassy- 
slope before her, where he could see her if he 
wished, and where she could hardly choose but 
look at him. Several moments passed before 
he raised his eyes, but he felt her gaze on him, 
and wondered of what she was thlnkinof- 

When at last he met her eyes, he saw tears 
In them. Philip would have touched her thin 
hand, but she gently withdrew It, another sad 
smile answering his unsaid words. Sometimes 
a silent conversation says too much ; and pres- 
ently Griselda, half frightened, spoke abruptly. 

" Did you know I had lost my voice ? " she 
asked. 

" You have not lost it, Griselda. I often 
hear you singing." 

" Do you ? But you would not know it was 
my voice If you did not see me ? " 

" Yes ; I should know your voice. There 



176 A DREAMER. 

is something gone from It ; but it is yours 
still." 

'' Shall I tell you what is gone from it ? 
Hope. I have to sing now, knowing it is 
good for nothing." 

Philip shook his head; but his thoughts had 
wandered from Griselda's singing. 

*' We can only clumsily express that German 
word ' entbehren,' " he said, '' but we can learn 
to do without many things that have once 
seemed not only necessities to us, but part 
of us. Think of St Simon Stylltes. I have 
always felt a great sympathy with that man." 

** No — his sacrifice was useless." 

*' Many sacrifices are useless." 

'* No," said Griselda, hastily; "they only 
seem useless." 

St Simon Stylltes was forgotten, and there 
was a few minutes' silence. Philip was study- 
ing the grass on which he was lying. Griselda 
had picked up her book. 

" What are you reading ? Upside down, 
Griselda ? " 

She coloured and turned the pages. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 177 

*' Is not this a pretty garden?" she said, 
while apparently she sought for some particu- 
lar passage ; '* it has been such a pleasure to 
me. We have planted so many flowers. I 
chose old-fashioned, sweet ones. Some people 
would think them common, but I like them. 
And I love these dear old flowerlnof bushes. 
Look at that guelder-rose. Those soft, round, 
white balls suggest many things to me." 

"The little girls in mob-caps that Sir Joshua 
painted ? " asked Philip. 

" Many things. That sweet smell comes 
from the wallflowers. I put some In a blue 
honey-jar yesterday. They were very pretty, 
but I could not find them to-day. I am afraid 
Margaret threw them out." 

*' No, she did not," said Philip. 

** By-and-by there will be stocks to be sweet, 
and lavender. Here are some sweet-williams, 
and rockets, and sweet-marjoram and thyme." 
The tears dropped from her eyes again, and 
she looked dowm at the book. 

*' What is It, Griselda ? " 

" I have been very miserable," she said, 

VOL. III. M 



178 A DREAMER. 

presently. '' My heart was broken. I did 
not want to live." 

" A new heart," began PhiHp, leaning on 
his elbow and looking up in her face. 

" Yes. God can give a new heart. Only 
the broken pieces are always there. But I 
like the flowers," she added, and then she 
began to read — 

" Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 
The tufted crow-toe and pale jessamine, 
The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet. 
The glowing violet, 

The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine, 
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head. 
And every flower that sad embroidery wears, 
Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed, 
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears. 
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies." 

Philip laid his hand on the book as if to stop 
her. She did not heed him. 

'' Do you remember Ophelia ? " she said in 
the same voice, full of sad meaning — 

" There's rosemary, that's for remembrance ; pray you, 
love, remember : and there is pansies, that's for thoughts. 
There's fennel for you, and columbines :— there's rue for 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 179 

you; and here's some for me; — we may call it, herb of 
grace o' Sundays : — you may wear your rue with a difference. 
— There's a daisy : — I would give you some violets." — 

She burst into tears, and covered her face with 
her hands. PhiHp had risen and was standing 
beside her. 

" Griselda," he said, " I cannot bear it." 
She did not answer at once ; then recover- 
ing herself somewhat, she faced her companion, 
and said quietly — 

" I have borne it a long time, Mr Temple." 
" Griselda," said Philip, passionately, lean- 
ing back against the tree, and looking down 
upon her, '' don't think I have forgotten. You 
need not give me the rosemary or the pansies, 
and I have worn my rue for many a long 
month. Do you think I can look at your sad 
face, and not know that the past stands up as 
an impassable barrier between us ? Don't be 
afraid that I will offend you with one — one — " 
Philip paused : she could fill in the blank 
herself 

" But be my friend, Griselda," he resumed, 
presently. " You said your voice was robbed 



l8o A DREAMER. 

of hope. Don't rob me of hope. There are 
cases in which Hfe is Httle use without it." 

" My h'fe is robbed of hope," said Griselda. 

" And mine, in one sense. It is not my 
meaning." 

'*What do you mean?" 

'* See," said Philip, rising, " the sun has set. 
Come In, and I will try and tell you what I 
mean. I have told no one; but I will tell 
you, Griselda — my friend. I may call you 
that ? " 

She bent her head and walked beside him 
in silence. But at the foot of the lower stairs 
she hesitated. 

" It is late." 

*' I will walk home with you, Griselda. 
Come with me now." She followed him. 
'' Do you believe in people being haunted ? " 
said Philip at the top of the stair. She made 
no answer, and they entered the astrologer's 
room and sat down silently. It was darker 
and more gloomy than usual ; the perfect still- 
ness of the evening was absolutely unbroken. 
Philip lit a solitary candle and placed it on a 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. l8l 

high ledge beside Griselda's honey-jar of wall- 
flowers. He stood near It. The flickerlno- 
light illuminating his wan face, and bright, 
abstracted eye. 

Griselda sat shivering by the open window, 
the cold grey from the sky falling on her pale 
cheeks and pinched fingers. 

" There was a man once," pursued Philip, 
" who saw wherever he looked, a woman In a 
red cloak with a basket on her arm. He was a 
good, sensible man — a clergyman like my father. 
He knew him when they w^ere both boys." 

" It was not real," said Griselda — " it was 
In his own brain." 

'' I myself think she was only there. But 
she may have been real for all that — as real as 
anything else. We can judge of nothing but 
In our own brain. The red-cloaked woman 
may have been as real as this candlestick on 
which I lay what appears to be my hand." 

" I do not understand." 

'' At any rate she was real to the man. 
Suppose, Griselda, a person wherever he 
looked, saw eyes gazing at him." 



1 82 A DREAMER. 

'' He might o-q to a doctor," said Grlselda, 
earnest but trembling. 

'' He did. It was no use. Often he saw 
nothing distinctly but those terrible eyes." 

" You don't mean yourself ? " 

'' I mean myself. Don't be frightened, 
Griselda. I am not mad. I am quite cool 
and sane. I know what I am talking of. I 
know, as you say, they are only a figment of 
my own brain." 

''Well," said Griselda, shuddering, ''tell 
me." 

" When David comes into the room, I hear 
him speak, I know it Is David. I see him at 
first — as he Is. Then while I am talking to 
him, I see behind him, or Instead of him — 
Henry's eyes, perhaps. Do you remember 
them, Griselda ? When I knew them first 
they were sparkling, innocent, blue eyes. 
Sometimes I see them so still, but not laugh- 
ing with me — laughing at me. That is not 
quite terrible. It is only abnormal. St Simon 
Stylites lived long in an abnormal condition. 
But oftener, Henry's eyes are wild and glar- 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 183 

inof, as I saw them last. Thev elare at me 
and ask for something I can never give, as 
in a bad dream. Sometimes I see him as 
Ralph drew him, Griselda — you remember the 
picture ? Here it is ; I have kept it as he 
wished — dying with a curse on his lips — 
cursing me. . . . Or it is Ralph himself, 
with his kind, grey eyes ; betrayed, forsaken, 
robbed, killed, . . . Ralph is more ter- 
rible to me than Henry. . . . David, or 
Margaret, or Dr Anderson, or my dear father, 
they cannot banish those terrible eyes." 

" But not always — you don't see them 
always ? " 

*' No, not always. But I always expect to 
see them. I took to books, they shut them 
out best. But sometimes I cannot see the 
W'Ords." 

Philip spoke very quietly, but even now he 
was not looking at Griselda, but out into a 
dark corner beyond her. She shook his arm. 

" But me ? You can see me ? " 

He looked down upon her and smiled for a 
moment. 



1 84 A DREAMER. 

" There used," he resumed, " to be another 
vision — a white, stricken girl holding a dead 
man's hand, and waving me away " 

" Don't ! " 

*' One whom I had deceived, tempted ; 
whose life I had destroyed, whose heart I 
had broken " 

'* Don't ! I can't bear it. Can you not see 
me now, Philip ? " 

He placed her in a chair and took her cold, 
trembling hand in his. 

" I can see you, Griselda. You were the 
first person I could see, and always see, un- 
changed. I used to watch you among the 
flowers, wandering about, alone you thought. 
I could see you from this window. I used to 
hear you sing. Once I was in the chapel with 
you, behind the screen. By degrees I lost the 
girl's dark, misery-gleaming eyes that haunted 
me, and I see you only as you are. You are 
in black, and you have lost your voice ; you 
are pale and thin, and other people would 
think you sad. But to me you are an angel 
of light. Haunt me, if you like, Griselda. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 185 

None other has brought me a message of 
hope for long." 

She burst Into tears, turning away from 
him, while he still held her hand. 

" We understand each other, Grlselda — my 
little friend ? " 

'' Yes, yes ; let us be friends. Let me help 
you." 

" There is no one to ask us questions, and 
we understand each other. The past will not 
reproach us for being friends," said Philip. 

Then he took her home. 



i86 



CHAPTER X. 

Janet had changed her opinion about the hot 
weather suiting Griselda. It was very hot for 
May. Griselda was pale and listless ; she 
seldom walked far from home, and went about 
her duties with a weary, languid air, not her 
wont since the first bitterness of her great 
trouble had passed. Mrs Lindsay Insisted 
upon her taking an iron tonic she had once 
found most strenorthenlnof in this enervatlne 
summer weather, and Janet began to consider 
the feasibility of a fortnight at the seaside ; 
but Griselda always declared she was perfectly 
well and did not require change of air in the 
least. 

" Moving about only makes me restless, 
Janet," she said ; " I want to get accustomed 
to living in one place. I am just beginning 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 187 

to get used to being here with you, and I 
would rather not be obliged to go away. 
You have always lived so long in one place 
that you don't understand restlessness. And 
I have been so often transplanted that I don't 
know how to fix my roots in the ground. 
Please don't tear them up, Janet, just when I 
am trying to establish them." 

" Only for a week or two, Griselda. I am 
sure it would do you good. You don't look 
the same girl you were three months ago." 

'' I don't see much difference," said Griselda, 
turning to the lookine-S^lass ; '' I have looked 
like this for a lonor time, I think. I was dif- 
ferent once," she added, with a little choke in 
her voice. 

Janet put her arm round the girl's waist and 
kissed her forehead. 

" You are very pretty still, Griselda." 

" That is not it ; I mean that is only one 
very little thing. Oh, Janet, you don't know 
how wTetched it is to feel that everything 
which was bright, and beautiful, and really 
enjoyable in life, belongs to the past only." 



l88 A DREAMER. 

" Yes," said Janet, sighing ; *' life Is very 
unsatisfactory, certainly. But I think never to 
have had things Is as dreary as having lost 
them. Now I, Griselda, was always plain, and 
uninteresting, and a failure. Nobody ever 
admired anything I did, or loved me better 
than any one else." 

" That is not quite true, Janet ; you know 
you are just everything in the world to your 
mother, and so you were to your sister who 
died." 

" Just one's own family," said Janet. '' Well, 
I ought to be satisfied with that, I suppose ; 
but It is one of the miseries of a woman's 
character that she never is satisfied with things 
that are a mere matter of course : she wants 
something special, something which might not 
have fallen upon her, but which, doing so, 
gives a colour to her life. There is nothing 
special about me. I am not remarkable for 
anything. My place could always be filled by 
other people. Nobody ever wanted to marry 
me (though I am sure I should make a much 
better wife than many persons I see married). 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 189 

So I can't feel that my existence has been of 
importance to any one except to the persons 
who found me available, simply because I was 
there. I can't even do anything well. I can 
do a little of several things, but nothing really 
well. My life wants point. I daresay all this 
sounds very laughable, Griselda," said Janet, 
piqued, " but it Is very dreary, I assure you." 

'' No, Janet, I was not laughing at you. I 
was trying to smile at myself. But why should 
I ? I don't like people who are always moan- 
ing over themselves, but I made other people 
miserable." Janet said nothing, and Griselda 
resumed. **A11 you said Is like so many peo- 
ple's lives. And I hope one can be of some 
use, and of importance to somebody, without 
being married : because there are persons who 
can't marry, and don't wish it, but they would 
like to be some good in the world. People 
like me, Janet, you know." 

" Well, even if you don't marry, Griselda, 
you have your music. Your life will have 
some polnt.'^ 

" Even music is a very poor substitute for 



1 90 A DREAMER. 

love," said Griselda, gravely. '' It sounds very 
fine to devote one's life to art, and one ad- 
mires people who do it ; but when one tries 
it one's self, it withers the heart. No life could 
be happy that had art of any sort for its central 
point." 

" But you are a person who might marry," 
said Janet. ** I could quite understand, a man 
wanting to make you his wife." 

*' I shall never marry, Janet. Something 
more is necessary than that a man should want 
to make me his wife : I must wish to make 
him my husband. I should never wish that." 

" So one thinks of man in the abstract. A 
real man, with a name and a voice, standing 
before one, is different." 

" I shall never marry. I must find the love 
that is to give my life point in some other 
way." 

'' In moaning over the past, perhaps," said 
Janet, bitterly. "Yes, if the past has been 
perfectly complete one can do that ; but if it 
has been only a failure, the whole life will be 
incomplete if one lives in it." 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 191 

*' Even if it is incomplete, it is better than if 
one forgot the past. One can dedicate the 
future to it. Oh, Janet," she cried, suddenly, 
"why did God take Ralph away?" 

" Would you have married him if he had 
lived ? " asked Janet, gently. 

'' I would, I would. I meant to do it." 

" That might have been incomplete too," 
said Ralph's sister, stroking Griselda's hair 
tenderly. She was always gentle with her 
now. 

Several days passed, and though Griselda 
was often in the moated garden, Philip sent 
her no invitation to his lonely tower. Some- 
times she saw him at the window, and she 
smiled up at him, hoping he would join her 
under the thorn-tree as he had done before ; 
but he did not, and once when she had found 
him in the hall talking to Dr Anderson, he 
had retired without a word beyond an ordin- 
ary greeting. 

It pained Griselda, and she considered much 
his possible motives in avoiding her now. She 
could not fall in with this mood of his ; and the 



192 A DREAMER. 

longing to see him became at last so strong, 
that one day she mounted the winding stair 
without Invitation, and knocked timidly at the 
door of the astrologer's room. 

Philip did not look surprised to see her ; he 
put a chair for her near the open window, and 
then reseated himself, not resuming his occupa- 
tion, but leaning back and looking at her with 
quiet pleasure In her coming. Griselda was 
satisfied that the orloom on his countenance 
had lightened. She would have been content 
to sit there beside him without speaking. She 
took a book from the table, and jfinding it 
happily in a tongue with which she had some 
acquaintance, she began to read. Griselda 
had never read many books, and her natural 
appetite for them had not been satiated. 
But Philip removed the volume from her 
hands. 

" Talk to me, Griselda," he said, pushing 
back his chair and removing the pen from the 
Ink. She smiled acceptance of his mood, and 
drew her chair nearer to the table. 

" What are you always doing up here by 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 193 

yourself ? " she asked. Philip pushed some 
papers towards her. 

" I am writing a book," he said gravely, but 
with a smile in his eyes : " don't suppose I 
am fool enough to think any one will read it. 
It is abstruse. I find it dull myself." 

'' Why do you write it ? " 

" It gives me something to do," said Philip, 
wearily. " There are two or three people in 
the world, I daresay, who might find it inter- 
esting. I could imagine myself, under some 
circumstances, agreeing with them." 

" I don't think you will do it well if you care 
so little about it," said Griselda, sagely. 

'' Probably not. It is no great matter. As 
I say, no one will read it. It will lie here 
among these mouldy old pages that line the 
shelves, and will be less regarded even than 
they." She looked at him with some dismay, 
not unmingled with pity. *' It is not nonsense, 
Griselda," said Philip, smiling again ; *' it takes 
a great deal of study. You might help me a 
little with it if you liked," he added, hesitating ; 
" will you ? " 

VOL. III. N 



194 A DREAMER. 

" Yes, oh yes. But you will not spend your 
life at this ? You will find better work — for 
others ? " 

"Work Is not always easy to find. It is not 
appointed unto every man to work. I never 
was good at It, I think. Could you work for 
others If you could see no one unhaunted by 
reproaching eyes ? " 

'' You don't see them now ? " said Griselda, 
hastily. 

" No, not now. You have banished them 
for the present." 

" I would have come sooner If I had known 
you liked it," she said, regretfully. 

'' Of course I like it. Come often, Gris- 
elda. Come and help me with what I am 
pleased to call my work." 

" I will indeed." 

*' It is not always quite so dull as this. 
Sometimes for a diversion, I amuse myself 
with a fairy tale or a ghost story." 

'* You will make me afraid of ghosts, I 
think," said Griselda, shuddering momen- 
tarily. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 195 

'' Nay, I will not talk to you of my own 
familiar ghosts." 

'' You may. I am not really afraid. I 
know they are only fancy. If you talk of 
them they will go, perhaps." 

" I wish I could think so, Griselda. No, I 
will not worry you with them. My ghosts 
have very little to do with my unhappiness. 
They are the symptoms of unhappiness, not 
the cause. Do you remember once asking me 
something about remorse, Griselda ? " 

'' Did I ? I know something of it now.'* 

" Remorse Is not a good thing," said Philip, 
gravely. "It Is sometimes, unfortunately, in- 
evitable, but it Is Incapacitating — like my 
ghosts. We must try and banish both." 

" If we can," said Griselda, resting her chin 
on her hand and lookinof at him. '' Come 
down to the piano with me," she said, pres- 
ently ; " I want to sing you something." 

'' I am afraid you don't like my tower." 

" I do. If you will let me, I will come here 
sometimes and read these old books. But I 
want to tell you about my work. I want to 



196 A DREAMER. 

Sing you my own song. I have written several 
songs. Two or three have been published. 
My friends — musical people whom I used to 
know — have been kind to me, and have 
helped me. They said I succeeded. I hope 
to make a little money that way. And I 
am organist at the church here," she added, 
vaguely. 

Philip smiled. " It all suits you very well, 
Griselda." 

" It is rather dull though," said Griselda, 
smiling too, and looking at him ruefully. 

'' It Is not brilliant, perhaps. I suppose 
you will never be a very distinguished com- 
poser ? You might have been brilliant as a 
distinguished opera - singer. Nay, you were 
brilliant, with your beautiful face, and beauti- 
ful voice, and your jewels, and laces, and car- 
riages, and flatterers, and admirers " 

" Don't. It sounds like the chapter in 
Isaiah we read at prayers this morning about 
the mantles, and the crisping pins, and the 
round tires like the moon." 

" You are different now, Griselda," said 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 197 

Philip softly, as he opened the piano for 
her. 

She did not begin to sing at once : her 
fingers wandered idly over the keys. She 
was thinking of something. 

" I am glad we can be friends," said Gris- 
elda presently, forgetting that the context was 
clear to herself only. 

Dr Anderson found them still at the piano 
an hour later. Philip approved of the song 
she had published. 

'' It is pretty : the air is good, and there is 
art in the accompaniment. It is in the Ger- 
man style. Our English songs have no ac- 
companiments. Sing it again." She obeyed, 
and then sang others, asking for advice and 
criticism. 

He walked home with her. It was a beau- 
tiful day, fresh and sunny. 

" Come in and see Mrs Lindsay," said Gris- 
elda, experimenting. 

Philip shook his head. '' I am too much of 
a hermit for that," he answered. 

" You must not be a hermit. You must 



198 A DREAMER. 

not do such queer things. Promise me 
you will give up walking about at night, 
for instance. The daylight is so beauti- 
ful ! " 

" You are right, Griselda. I have no 
longer an object in hiding, now you have 
found me. I don't wish to be queer. It is 
affectation." 

" But you are queer," said Griselda, earn- 
estly. Philip smiled sadly. " Forgive me," 
she added. " I know how it is. It is not 
wonderful." 

*' I am quite sane, Griselda/' said Philip, 
lightly. Her pitying glance touched him 
deeply. " Don't trouble about it. Think of 
me as a man with — a chronic pain in the 
arm, we will say. There is nothing ghastly 
in that." 

*' I don't know what you mean. But surely 
— surely — it is better by day than by night ? 
I mean less terrible." 

"It is more terrible, because ghosts are 
less natural by day. It is not better be- 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. I99 

cause It has nothing to do with ghosts. It 
is better when I am with you, Griselda," he 
added, softly. ** Listen," said PhiHp, pres- 
ently. " I said it was incapacitating, but I 
don't mean to be conquered by it. I have 
not laid down my arms, though I seem to 
have yielded for the present. Soon I mean 
to vanquish it enough to go about my busi- 
ness, as if I had not — a chronic pain in my 
arm." 

" You must be cured." 

" Cured or not cured, I intend not to be 
vanquished. I shall go about my business 
as I used. See, Griselda, you have roused 
my courage. I should not have said that so 
decidedly a month ago." 

" What is your business ? " said Griselda, 
naively, 

Philip laughed. '' I don't know. I never 
had a regular business, unfortunately. It has 
been my own fault. But some one must do 
odd jobs, Griselda, and I am always hoping 
to stumble on a business some day. I gen- 



200 A DREAMER. 

erally land in Utopia, however, when I voyage 
in search of a business." 

" That is a good thing : if every one got to 
Utopia ! It is better for one person to go 
there than nobody." 

" The general public would not understand 
that argument, Griselda," said Philip, smiling. 



201 



CHAPTER XI. 

It was late in the summer now — late, that is, 
if you call August late, when the golden glow 
of anticipated summer has given place to the 
quiet sadness of realisation, and the hinted 
sorrow of future decay. The days were slowly 
but surely shortening : the purple shadow was 
gone from the golden corn-fields, and now they 
were waiting for the sickle, all one dull yellow : 
the hedges were powdered with a fine white 
dust : the trees, monotonous in their heavy 
green : in many places the grass was scorched 
and brown. With the hushing of the birds, 
the gladness and the joy of the year had 
ceased. Everywhere people were leaving 
their customary dwellings and hastening to 
strange scenes ; for no one can bear to see 
the first signs of approaching change on 



202 A DREAMER. 

familiar features : they would rather the year 
turned when they were far away among strange 
places and unknown scenes. Yet the gardens 
were still full of flowers, and the breath of sum- 
mer was balmy in its scented greeting. The 
weather was perfect at Ponchester, for there 
had been no rain lately, and the eastern coun- 
ties can bear well a long-continued drought. 

It was evening, and the sun was setting be- 
hind the row of softly-tinted pollards edging 
the pastures, and shedding its mellow gleams 
on the grass and the white pathway, along 
which one passenger was passing with linger- 
ing footsteps towards Alton Moat. Philip had 
gathered flowers as he came along : cream- 
coloured meadow-sweet, fragrant on the even- 
ing air; spiked bulrushes and yellow lilies 
from the pool beside the road ; one late wild- 
rose, white and golden - eyed ; and a tuft of 
blue forget-me-not for a point of colour, sub- 
dued by a trail of small, dull-coloured ivy. He 
had no motive in plucking the blossoms : they 
were there, and he was lonely this evening. 
There might be a message for him dropped 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 203 

among that bed of forget-me-nots from which 
he had chosen the half-dozen blue stars in his 
hand ; the tender scent of the meadow-sweet 
might be the breath of a friend. He entered 
the garden by the gate near the beehives ; an 
evening primrose wafted its luscious odour to 
greet him, and the crimson petals of a rose 
fell at his feet. No one was in the garden. 

Philip passed among the flowers and bushes 
to the back entrance of the house : old Mar- 
garet might fancy the young master s handful 
of wild flowers ; but Margaret was not in sight. 
Philip passed on. 

Stealing down the stair to the sun-flooded 
hall came strains from the organ in the chapel. 
He stood and listened. Presently clear and 
soft rose a sweet voice, singing from Handel's 
" Messiah." He hesitated ; then, flowers in 
hand, mounted the narrow stair. 

He entered softly, and threw himself on the 
low seat beside Griselda, under the richly-stained 
window. The sun, with, dying radiance, shone 
on the golden head, and threw bright colours 
on her white cape and slender, agile fingers. 



204 A DREAMER. 

She did not rise, nor cease her singing, but 
glanced round, and half smiled as she saw the 
listener. Philip breathed more freely ; it was 
the greeting he liked. Of late they had be- 
come very civil to one another, shaking hands 
precisely, and making conversation about the 
want of rain, and Dr Anderson's rheumatism. 

She sang, looking upwards with dilated, 
shadowed eyes. "He was despised — de- 
spised and rejected ; a man of sorrows, and 
acquainted with grief 

Philip listened, his face shaded by his hand 
— listened with that keen attention which loses 
sight of all time and place. It was her voice 
— the sweetest voice in the world for him : 
" so sweet he knew not he was listening 
to it." 

But Griselda was feeling the words deeply. 
They had opened a well of sympathy in her 
heart, and she poured her whole soul into their 
utterance. *' A man of sorrows, and acquainted 
with grief." It was not only they, then : other 
lives had been blighted before theirs ; other 
shoulders had bowed beneath heavy burdens ; 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 205 

Other hearts had been broken — ay, hearts 
nobler and better than theirs ! 

" Acquainted with grief" — ah ! Hke her who 
had taken grief for her companion and her 
own famlHar friend. . . . She stopped 
singing, and sat still before the organ without 
speaking. The sunbeams still shone upon her 
burnished head and delicate, drooping figure, 
and made, through the stained glass, a fan- 
tastic colourinor on the oak carvinor and the 
quaint stone heads on the pillars ; on the 
matting at Griselda's feet, on the polished oak 
flooring by the organ, and on the worn stone 
aisle of the chapel leading to the unused altar. 
Old David, who had been blowing the organ, 
slipped away unnoticed, and the girl and the 
young man sat silent and still, till the sunlight 
was gone, and the evening gloom had begun 
to gather round them. At last Philip spoke. 

" I wanted to see you, Griselda. This Is 
good-bye. I am going home." 

She started and turned to him. " Home ? " 

" To my father and mother." She was 
silent for several moments ; then he saw a 



206 A DREAMER. 

trembling smile upon her lips, and, scarcely 
knowing why, he held out his hand. Griselda 
laid hers in it for a moment, then said, with 
an attempt at lightness — 

" You make me jealous when you talk about 
your home. I have never had a home." 

"Never?" 

*' Mrs Lindsay and Janet are very kind," 
said Griselda in a low voice, " but their house 
is not my home. I do not belong to them. 
Sometimes I think I will go away." 

'' To find a home ? " 

"• There are different kinds of homes. There 
are homes for blind people and lame people 
and orphan children. When I am older I will 
try to find a home — and work — among some 
people like that who want me. I might belong 
really to miserable people who had no one. 
Mrs Lindsay has Janet." 

'' It would not be a real home, Griselda." 

" It is the only sort of home left for me. I 
shall do very well. Don't be unhappy about 
me. It might have been different. I might 
have had a real home with one who wanted 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 207 

me — and loved me. It was my own fault that 
I lost it." 

'' I think Ralph has had his revenge on us 
both, Griselda," said Philip, bitterly. 

'' I never thought of it as his revenge. It is 
the only natural result. He would be sorry if 
he knew, I daresay." 

" It is the only result possible, I suppose ? " 

" I suppose so. We settled that long ago, 
Philip, did we not ? " 

" I believe we did. It is because we settled 
this that I am going away." 

- Why ? " 

" Do you see no reason, Griselda ? " 

She was silent. '' There are other reasons 
too," said Philip, presently. " You told me I 
was useless " 

'' No, no." 

'' You thought it. I think it too. I don't 
wish it. I made up my mind some time ago 
that I would conquer myself sufficiently to go 
out into the world again. Many people have 
skeletons in their cupboards. So have I. 
That is all." 



208 A DREAMER. 

" I had so hoped you would have been 
cured." 

'' I was not thinking only of — the chronic 
pain in my arm. As to that, I am not cured, 
probably never will be ; but I am much better. 
It will be hard work to do without you, Gris- 
elda, but I must accomplish it. I shan't for- 
get this summer," said Philip, presently : thank 
you for all you have done for me. It is a 
comfort to me to think also that these weeks 
have passed, and we have been great friends, 
and have met often, and yet that Ralph has 
nothing to reproach us with — has he ? " 

" Nothing." 

*' Except that we love each other," said 
Philip. *'That can't be helped, I am afraid; 
but it is a reason why I should go away." 

** It is best not to confess it even to our- 
selves," said Griselda ; *' it was that did the 
mischief before." 

'' Yes ; I don't think it makes much differ- 
ence now." 

They sat looking at each other without 
speaking. Any light there was left in the 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 209 

little chapel, fell on Griselda's small, sad face. 
Philip was quite in shadow, but she could 
trace the outline of his sombre features and 
steadfast, compressed lips. 

''My father has found some work for me : 
an odd job, of course. I am glad to be able 
to do anything he proposes : it was always his 
wish that we should work together." 

" Yes," said Griselda, mechanically. 

" I daresay I shall come back here some- 
times. My father has promised not to seek an- 
other tenant after the old doctor goes. It will 
be pleasant to have no stranger in the place." 

" I shall come and look at the garden some- 
times." 

" Do. We shall meet again, Griselda ; but 
I shall not shut myself up in the tower any 
more." He smiled sadly. 

" Good-bye," said Griselda, rising and hold- 
inof out her hand. 

" Good-bye," said Philip. 

She gathered up some music-leaves lying 
on the window-seat, and went out slowly and 
regretfully. 

VOL. III. O 



210 A DREAMER. 

" Good-bye," said Philip, again. The words 
followed her down the worn staircase, and 
lingered In her brain for days after. 

Philip stayed long In the darkened chapel, 
his head buried in his hands. The flowers 
remained where he had laid them on the 
window-seat, and the next morning were found 
and swept out by Margaret, being hopelessly 
withered. But one ivy-leaf had been caught 
up In the leaves of Griselda's music, and there 
she found It long days afterwards, unfaded 
still. She stored it away, with a sad smile, 
and kept It for years. 



211 



CHAPTER XII. 

Agnes Mortimer had been at Hawkton ever 
since her husband's death. Three times a- 
week, at least, she drove into the town to 
visit the quiet parsonage where Hved PhiHp's 
parents. It was at her suggestion that the 
" odd job " was offered to PhiHp which took 
him away from Alton Moat. Agnes had 
opened a Working Man's College in Mr 
Temple's parish, and when the gentleman 
who had undertaken its management died 
suddenly, a week before the opening, Agnes 
felt sure no one could replace him so well as 
Philip. 

'' Write and ask him to come," she said to 
Mr Temple ; and she wrote herself also. 

Philip, who wanted to banish himself from 
Griselda, and to rouse himself from the morbid 



212 A DREAMER. 

inaction into which he had fallen, would have 
undertaken almost any work just then. He 
came ; and having worked himself up to some 
enthusiasm about the new college, proved a 
tolerably efficient manager and lecturer-in- 
chief. Very likely his disquisitions on as- 
tronomy and literature were not particularly 
adapted for the classes to whom they were 
addressed ; and his course of instruction on 
political economy broached many heterodox 
opinions which, happily, were only partially 
understood by his hearers ; but he himself 
profited by this renewed intercourse with his 
fellow-men. He had plenty of time on hand, 
and no one interfered with his researches into 
profane literature ; his excursions to Utopian 
dreamland ; his investigations into the condi- 
tions of life among the poor of his father's 
parish. Mrs Temple stood in awe of her 
sombre, silent son ; and his father felt his own 
incompetence to advise him. They left him to 
himself, and for the first time Philip felt in 
tolerable harmony with his parents. And he 
became very useful to his father in the parish, 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 213 

for Mr Temple was too sensible a man not to 
perceive the necessity of secular work as well 
as of spiritual, and was too busy a man to 
attend himself to both. 

Agnes found all her tact and judgment 
necessary to overcome Philip's aversion to 
herself. She pretended not to see it; she 
humoured his whims ; she entered into his 
schemes more readily, and appreciated his 
theories and wishes more highly than did his 
father and mother, who to the last regarded 
him as a species of harmless fanatic. Agnes 
was Improved since her husband's death. She 
was no longer cold and self-contained ; unlov- 
able at home, and superficially pleased with 
strangers. She seemed to have thrown off 
the veil of reserve that had covered all her 
affections and domestic virtues. In the quiet 
parsonage she appeared as the loving daugh- 
ter of the house, who was willing to use all her 
ofifts of fortune or talent in the service of those 
she loved. Her purse was always open for 
the needs of Mr Temple's poor parishioners, 
and by degrees this came to mean, at Philip's 



214 A DREAMER. 

disposal In the furtherance of his plans for 
their temporal welfare. Many a consultation 
had Agnes and Philip as to the best means of 
spending money for the benefit of this person 
and that ; this street and that ; this class and 
that. Often Agnes did not in the least agree 
with Philip's views ; but neither did she always 
care to contradict him. Generally she obeyed 
him readily, only infusing Into her acquiescence 
sufficient opposition to make him form a high 
estimate of her own judgment and power of 
thought. Gradually It became a natural thing 
to Philip to consult Agnes and to talk with 
her. He would often walk over to Hawkton 
on days when she did not come to the parson- 
age; and he superintended Lily's education 
and amusements with an interest that awoke 
in the child an affection she had bestowed on 
no one else. 

Still it seemed impossible to lighten Philip's 
constant gloom and depression : he never 
laughed, and his smiles were seldom the result 
of genuine mirth. He was determined to be 
cheerful If he could, and to worry no one with 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 215 

the fact that he had blighted his life ; but he 
was too unaffected to conceal his lack of hap- 
piness, and every one knew that his attempts 
at lightness were a bitter tormenting of him- 
self He never spoke of himself, or of what 
he had borne and still suffered. He never 
mentioned Griselda beyond replying to his 
father's query as to his subsequent inter- 
course with her, after the reintroduction he 
had effected for them. 

** Yes, I used to see her sometimes. We 
were very good friends ; she liked to poke 
about among the old books, and she had the 
run of the garden." 

He never spoke of Ralph Lindsay, or of 
Henry Mortimer and that buried past. No 
one knew the meaning of the occasional wan- 
dering look in his sunken eyes ; nor why he 
sometimes shut himself up for the whole day 
in his room with a book, admitting no one. 
He kept his labour of the pen for these occa- 
sions, and he became not unknown to the 
literary world as the author of sundry wild, 
fantastic essays or tales which appeared in 



2l6 A DREAMER. 

various publications under an assumed name. 
He did not think much of them himself. They 
were a letting off of steam, " which is not a 
natural production of the human mind — at 
least of this particular mind — and is best 
thrown out of it to avoid an explosion. My 
dear mother, I don't mean a word of it seri- 
ously. Relax your countenance, I entreat 
you." 

" But, Philip, why do you write things you 
do not mean ? I cannot believe it is right," 
said poor Mrs Temple. 

'' I do mean it, but not seriously. Owen 
Tudor" (his pseudonym) "means every word 
of it quite seriously." 

Mrs Temple sighed. Philip was incom- 
prehensible to her, and she was always anxious 
and unhappy about an enigma. Her husband 
had more faith in his son, but he was disap- 
pointed in him. He had hoped that the young 
man would have recovered from the twist that 
had sprained him (metaphorically speaking) by 
this time ; and though Philip was active and 
busy, and very often amusing enough, he 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 217 

never doubted that his condition was an essen- 
tially unnatural one. 

Once he tried to speak to him on the subject, 
but Philip broke into a long disquisition on St 
Simon Stylites and bewildered the poor clergy- 
man, who knew very little of St Simon, and 
vaguely classed him among the heretics, whose 
large number was always a sore distress to his 
benevolent soul. 

** My scheme with the poor little singer 
failed," said Mr Temple to his wife ; " she 
has done him no good, apparently. We must 
try something else." 

" I never approved of that scheme," said 
Mrs Temple energetically, though in a whis- 
per. '' I wonder you could encourage such 
madness." 

" Things go too far occasionally to admit of 
the old circumstances returning. If he can't 
get over it, he would do better to marry her. 
However, he doesn't seem to intend that." 

" I don't believe he cares about her," said 
Mrs Temple. 

They both glanced at the other end of the 



2l8 A DREAMER. 

room where Philip was talking eloquently to 
Agnes, while little Lily sat beside him play- 
ing with his fingers. More than a year had 
passed since Oliver's death, and Lily wore a 
red ribbon round her white frock. Agnes, of 
course, was still in black, but there were no 
siofns of sorrow on her face. She liked talk- 
ing to Philip, and she did not try to conceal 
the fact. 

Mrs Temple had forgiven Agnes for the 
slightness of her grief for Oliver. Mrs Mor- 
timer had allowed dear Aunt Edith to see by 
degrees that she had never loved her husband. 
She had married him out of pique, as many 
a girl marries a man she does not love, and 
regrets it ever after. And it pained her much 
to see the change on Philip since she had first 
known him ; and she could not help blaming 
herself for a great deal of it. 

The beautiful faces of mother and daughter, 
both so near Philip, and so evidently bright- 
ened by his presence, made an attractive pic- 
ture. Mrs Temple smiled to her husband; and 
Philip, happily unconscious of their thought. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 219 

continued speaking with real interest to Agnes. 
Presently they went out together, Lily run- 
ning beside them, holding Philip's hand. She 
liked oroine to the Institute to see the cook- 
ing-class for the women which mamma super- 
intended, or to hear Uncle Philip talk to the 
rough men and lads, who clustered round him 
and smiled on the little lady. 

Philip was not really fond of Lily, who ap- 
peared to him an ungracious, unlovable child; 
but he accepted her affection much as he 
accepted her mother's useful adaptiveness to 
his requirements, because both helped him for- 
ward In the life upon which he had entered. 
He had no heart for Agnes or Lily; not much 
in his work : little demonstrative affection for 
his parents. He did his best for them all, 
and used them all, without much thinking of 
what he was doing ; but the fact was, his heart 
and his thoughts were elsewhere, and the un- 
successful effort to control them was almost too 
much for his strength. He slept badly, and 
ate little ; his days of abstraction became more 
frequent ; and his smiles were shorter and 



220 A DREAMER. 

rarer. Often he rose before daybreak, and 
wandered away from the town to some quiet 
corner of a wood or a field, where he would 
lie still under the trees, letting the birds come 
close to him, and little harmless creatures, busy 
at their morning search for food, run over his 
motionless hand. Tears would come to his 
eyes then, and the long-repressed groan would 
burst from his lips. Often he gathered berries 
and autumn flowers as he came along, but he 
always threw them away before entering, for 
there was no one at the parsonage who cared 
for weeds and poisonous fruits, and it is only 
in days of happiness that we gather flowers 
for ourselves. 

He had no memorial of Griselda, no golden 
curl, no faded flower to look at with loving 
eyes. The old tokens were buried in Ralph's 
lonely grave, and this year he had taken noth- 
ing. Once she had dropped a black ribbon 
from her hair among the old books of the 
astrologer's tower, and he had kept it lovingly 
till he had seen her next, and had then given 
it back without a word. She was not his. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 221 

The old vision of the stricken girl holding 
the dead man's hand, or waving himself away, 
returned to him now, and Ralph was terribly 
distinct to the diseased eyes — Ralph, of whom 
he had no memorial either but the picture 
with the wild words written upon it. Philip 
gazed at it often, holding It with trembling 
hands, and looking up fearfully to be sure It 
existed for him on paper only. Sometimes he 
saw Ralph writing on the wall of his room : 
once he saw the dead hand holding Griselda's 
hair, and writing fiercely with a pen dipped in 
blood. 

One day In despair he rushed up to London 
to consult a doctor again. His old adviser 
could give him little help. 

'' Look after your bodily health, and be as 
happy as you can ; divert your mind, if pos- 
sible." 

He went to Dr Henslow, who was glad to 
see him again, and who had long ago guessed 
somethine of what ailed him. The doctor 
shook his head and repeated the other phy- 
sician's words. 



222 A DREAMER. 

" Why do you banish yourself from my 
little friend ? " asked Dr Henslow. '' You 
admit she made you better." 

"If you don't understand why, there Is little 
use in my trying to tell you," said Philip 
gloomily, and returned to his home. He re- 
sumed his active life ; he talked with Agnes, 
and jested and smiled and pleased his mother 
with little attentions, and his father with co- 
operation in his parish work ; and he shut a 
door on his Inner life and his secret anguish, 
and wrote the word '' Private" upon it in large 
characters. Once he wrote to Griselda. 

'' I am getting worse again without you — 
sometimes It is almost more than I can bear. 
The doctors tell me to divert myself, and not 
to think of the past. It Is a difficult prescrip- 
tion, but I am trying to obey, and to forget 
you. I will not be defeated, if I lose life or 
reason in the struggle. (Query, would that 
be defeat ?) If ever you hear anything start- 
ling of me, don't be astonished. If It Is a 
voluntary act, put it down to experiment ; If 
Involuntary, to necessity and fate. I don't 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 223 

know what I am writing exactly. I am look- 
ing at you, whom I see as distinctly as if you 
were in the room ; but you do not look pleas- 
ant, Griselda. You terrify me : go — go." 

The long dry summer had not been a 
wholesome one. It left a legacy of fever 
to the crowded town. Mr Temple's parish 
— a large and a poor one — suffered cruelly 
in the autumn. House after house in the 
narrow streets, where the poor people dwelt, 
was entered by the pestilence, and the kind 
folks at the parsonage had their hands filled. 
One evening Mrs Temple received a message 
from Philip, who had gone into the remote 
corner of the parish where the fever raged 
at its highest. " Don't expect me home to- 
night. Mrs Blacker died, as you expected, 
this morning ; the husband is dying now, and 
I cannot leave him, for he is quite deserted. 
The house is as wretched as usual, and a 
drunken chorus is going on below. If you 
can, send some food for the girl, who is im- 
proving : a woman from the next house is 
looking after her at intervals, when she can 



224 A DREAMER. 

leave a sick child of her own. There is no 
one but myself to see after the three Blacker 
babies. I have got them to bed successfully 
— the bed Is their dead mother's clothes." 

Towards morning the man died, and Philip 
went into the adjoining house where help was 
equally needed. At ten o'clock he was joined 
by Mr Temple and, to his surprise, by Agnes, 
who ** had come to nurse any one who needed 
her." *' You are wonderfully handy with the 
children, Philip," she said, smiling ; " but that 
is my work. Go and get the doctor, if you 
can, and leave the babies to me." He looked 
at her gratefully. 

" The doctor can't be In ten streets at once," 
said Philip ; and he went to the nearest tele- 
graph office and begged Dr Henslow and his 
daughter to come at once and give their ser- 
vices to the stricken town. 

The good doctor and Jessie needed no 
second invitation. Rooms were prepared for 
them at the parsonage, where Agnes was also 
staying (having left Lily at Hawkton), and 
from this centre Issued forth unbounded help 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 225 

during the two months of misery and sickness 
that followed. Everywhere the clergyman's 
kindly face was welcomed, and Mrs Temple 
followed him with untiring zeal and faith. 
Agnes's purse was open as usual, and she 
devoted a large cottage on the Hawkton 
estate to the purpose of a convalescent home. 
Dr Henslow, who always delighted in volun- 
tary service, was almost ubiquitous, and his 
cures were reputed so numerous that the 
people began to regard him as a magician. 
But no one accomplished so much as Philip, 
who found pleasure in the unusualness of the 
work. He never appeared to require rest, and 
he had suggestions ready in all emergencies. 
The worst cases, from which the ladies shrank, 
were the most welcome to him, and his eyes 
saw the last flicker of light in those of many 
a dying sufferer. Lonely midnight watches in 
the most disreputable houses had no horror 
for him ; he had no fear of infection, and even 
seemed to court it. Agnes was often at his 
side ; she was his helper, as Jessie was Dr 
Henslow's and Mrs Temple her husband's. 
VOL. III. P 



226 A DREAMER. 

Philip was almost startled to perceive how 
much he depended on her willing help and 
her seldom-failing wisdom. 

" Don't kill yourself, Philip," said Agnes, 
one day when he, looking worn and wretched, 
but vigorous as usual, was starting on a mid- 
night expedition to the wretched alley where 
he and she had spent the day ; and Philip 
paused to touch her hand before going 
out. 

Agnes was wonderfully changed, he thought; 
he would never have expected such devotion 
to the poor and suffering from her. Poor 
Agnes ! he had judged her too harshly for 
many years. 

The pestilence spent itself at last, and the 
winter found the town slowly recovering its 
breath after the suffering and misery it had 
experienced. Agnes returned to Hawkton, 
and Dr Henslow and Jessie to London ; Mr 
and Mrs Temple rested, and revived. Philip 
allowed himself no rest : labour and excite- 
ment had become necessary to him, and he 
clung to them with the same despairing hope 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 22/ 

that made him talkative to Agnes, and patient 
with his mother. 

But now that the two months' activity was 
over, he had no longer much to do in his 
parents' home. The Institute, soon to be 
reopened, was not enough to occupy him, 
and his wider schemes were in most instances 
impracticable. He worked away with his pen, 
but merely as a distraction, while he turned 
over many plans in his mind — to emigrate ; to 
travel; to enlist as a soldier; to return to Lon- 
don : he thought over all these, and tried hard 
to stifle the wish to go back to Alton. As yet 
he had not ventured to see Griselda even for 
an hour : how much longer he could live with- 
out her he could not tell. The days seemed 
very long now that they were passed in com- 
parative inaction; and the nights were even 
worse, when sleep had to be wooed with un- 
tiring perseverance, and came at last, hideous 
with distorted recollections of the day. 

'' You look so wretched, Philip ! " said Agnes 
— " what is the matter with you ? " 

'' I tell you what,'' said he, suddenly ; " this 



228 A DREAMER. 

must come to an end soon. We have had 
enouofh of this." 

'' Of what ? " 

*' Of everything. What will the end be, 
Agnes ? I feel it drawing near." 

" You frighten me." Agnes smiled, and drew 
closer to him. " It has been a pleasant autumn, 
Philip, to me. We have been better friends." 

" Yes, indeed, Agnes. Forgive me if I mis- 
judged you in the past." Philip spoke earn- 
estly ; he had grown humble in the last year 
or two. 

He said no more. Agnes was disappointed. 
She liked his approbation well enough, but it 
was not the thing she cared for most. Her 
charm of manner, her careful goodness, had 
failed if they had gained for her no more than 
this. But she did not in the least relax her 
efforts to please him ; and Philip, absorbed in 
other thoughts, still found her useful and pleas- 
ant, and the best distraction at hand. Every 
one thought they were great friends, and Mr 
and Mrs Temple had more highly coloured 
views on the subject. 



229 



CHAPTER XIII. 

It had been a dim, chill autumn, the shorten- 
ing days of which were glorified by no gorge- 
ous colour on the trees, no golden sunsets : the 
nights were never clear and starlit; the sod- 
den foliage fell noiselessly and imperceptibly 
till the trees were bare almost before their 
time ; but the leaves never lay crisp and 
ruddy for merry children to trample under- 
foot. The late chrysanthemums in the Moat 
garden lingered with wet leaves hanging dole- 
fully, and dismal, blackened flowers that seemed 
to have no energy left even to die. 

Griselda, standing among them one day, 
faded and drooping herself, saw Mr Temple 
coming into the garden, and remembered that 
Dr Anderson was expecting him. The old 
man was leaving the Moat to seek a home in 



230 A DREAMER. 

a less trying climate. Griselda sighed as she 
thought of it. She would miss the kind old 
doctor. Everything seemed to be coming to an 
end, thought she, sadly. Mr Temple joined her, 
with his kind smile and his fatherly greeting. 

" Please tell me how your son is ? " the girl 
ventured, presently. Philip's letter had grieved 
her deeply. 

" I can't say a great deal for his appear- 
ance," said Mr Temple, very kindly, for he 
read the poor child's affection in her eyes ; 
** but he is very active and busy, and most 
useful to me." 

" He does care about things then, a little ? " 
said Griselda. 

'' Oh yes. He is always concocting schemes 
with your cousin Agnes. She has been a 
great deal with us, you know. She and Phil 
are great friends." 

Griselda looked up with a new expression 
on her face. 

*' I don't think poor Agnes was ever very 
fond of her husband," said Mr Temple, feeling 
his way. 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 231 

"No; I used to see that." 

'' Did you know that she and PhiHp were 
engaged once ?" 

" Yes — and — and — you think — now ? " 

*' They are great friends now. Yes, I have 
thought lately that they might soon perhaps 
be something more." 

He paused. Griselda had turned pale. She 
leaned back against a tree and made no 
answer. Mr Temple took her hand and drew 
her towards him. 

" It would pain you, my poor child." 

She burst into tears, not trying to conceal 
her grief as she answered, '' No, no ; I should 
be really glad. I only want him to be happy. 
If she would make him happy, I should be 
happier too. Please don't let him ever think 
anything but that, or let the thought of me be 
a hindrance to better things for him. I should 
rather hear of some happiness for him than of 
anything in the world." 

*' My poor child ! At one time, Griselda, I 
had thought that you " 

" Did you indeed ? Would you have been 



232 A DREAMER. 

glad at that ? Ah, every one Is too kind to 
me — but it was best not. We thought it 
was best not. And if Agnes will be good to 

him Oh, I wish I were fonder of Agnes 

if she is to be that to him ! " 

"We all love Agnes," said Mr Temple, 
feeling, however, too acutely for Griselda to 
be quite pleased with Agnes at that moment. 
He did his best to comfort the poor little girl, 
who would not allow her own pain to express 
itself in words while she talked of the scheme 
for Philip's happiness. Mr Temple had wished 
to prepare her for what he felt might be 
unwelcome news, and he was delighted with 
the way she bore It, so simply and self- 
forge tt I ngly. 

" Only remember, my child, there is nothing 
said about it yet," he added, as he left her at 
her home ; " it may be all a fancy of mine, you 
know." 

*' I hope not," said Griselda — '*if she will 
make him happy." 

The winter began dismally. By day, a dull, 
drizzling rain would fall silently, wrapping the 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 233 

flat landscape in more than its natural gloom ; 
but at night the east wind often rose, moaning 
through the tree-tops, and round the gables of 
the few lone houses, like a discontented spirit 
that would not be quieted. 

On these nights Griselda could not sleep. 
She would sit up in her bed, and shiver as her 
room shook with the force of the wind, while 
she listened painfully for any different sound, 
as if dreading some approaching evil. One 
night nervousness so much got the better of 
her, that she fled in terror from her room and 
flew to Janet, who asked no questions, but 
folded her in her arms and hushed her like 
a frightened child. 

" You foolish little thing ! It will be a fine 
day to-morrow." 

" To-morrow ! " echoed Griselda. " Ah yes, 
to-morrow. All good things are for to-mor- 
row. When will to-morrow come ? " 

And prosaic Janet held her watch to the 
candle and answered, " It is half-past one. It 
is to-morrow already. Go to sleep till the 
sun comes out." 



234 A DREAMER. 

" Then to-day is yesterday," said Griselda, 
'' and to-morrow has come. But it is not fine 
weather yet, Janet, and I cannot sleep while 
that wind is crying so. I wish a real to-mor- 
row would come, that would not be just like 
the days before it. Janet, my heart aches. 
I feel it beating. I wish it might stop. I 
should not hear it then. I could rest then. 
I cannot rest now." 

*' Stay with me," said Janet ; '' the wind is 
not so noisy here." 

" I wish it were morning," said Griselda ; 
" but I am like David, Janet. When I got 
up this morning, I said, ' Would God it were 
evening.' " 

Janet made no answer. There had been 
days when she too had prayed weary David's 
prayer. 

Griselda went seldom to the Moat now. 
Dr Anderson was gone. The damp old house 
had nearly killed him, he said ; and he had 
waited impatiently till he had delivered the 
keys to Mr Temple. His music -books had 
vanished with him ; the doors of the pleasant 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 235 

old rooms were locked. All the summer flowers 
had faded; the apples and mulberries were 
over ; the trees were bare. Griselda had 
nothlnor to take her to Alton Moat now. " I 

o 

shall never be much there again," she said to 
herself; "but I shall always be fond of it. It 
was a great comfort to me once." 

She seldom went far from Ivy Cottage now. 
A long walk tired her, and the ground was 
too damp to allow her to sit under the trees 
as she had done In the autumn. Even the 
organ In the church was rarely visited. On 
Sundays she fulfilled her customary duties as 
organist, but she could not play and sing to 
herself now. If she tried to do so, she was 
generally to be found after about an hour with 
her head burled In her hands, and sometimes 
with tears falling from her eyes. Music said 
too much to her : It was always full of the 
bitter past, and the dreary present, and the 
long hopeless future. In the evenings she 
sang to Mrs Lindsay as punctually, almost as 
well, as ever ; and no one hearing the sweet 
expressive voice, could have guessed that It 



236 A DREAMER. 

was trilled forth mechanically from a mere 
sense of duty. 

But music and everything else had palled 
upon Griselda. Her heart cried for some- 
thing different. Janet watched her with fore- 
boding, noting how each day she grew thinner, 
whiter, and more shadowy. Janet's tempera- 
ment was an anxious one, and she was alarmed 
about the girl. 

" We must take her away, mamma. A fort- 
night at the sea may do her good." 

'' She drinks too strong tea," said gentle 
Mrs Lindsay ; '' it is the worst thing in the 
world for the complexion. Your dear father 
always said so." 

*' Let her have her tea, mamma," said Janet. 
She called Griselda : " Listen, dear, to our 
plan. We are going to the sea for a week 
or two. This is a very good time there, I 
believe. I wonder if Lowestoft, or Hunstan- 
ton, or Felixstowe would be the nicest 
place ? " 

'' I should rather stay here." 

" No ; that is what you must not do. It is 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 2^7 

partly for you we are going. It Is too damp 
for you here." 

" I am quite well, Janet." 

'' And change will be good for mamma." 

'' Janet," said Griselda, presently, '* I want 
to tell you something. I have nearly decided 
not to stay here much longer. I am going to 
live somewhere else." 

" Griselda ! Where ? What is the matter ? 
Why do you want to leave us ? " 

** There is nothino^ the matter. But I can t 
stay here, I think. And Janet, as you have 
that money now, you need not be a governess 
any longer, and so you don't want me so 
much." 

"It is very odd about that money," said 
Janet ; '' I wish we knew where It came from." 

'' I think I can guess. It is all right. You 
may think of it as Ralph's." 

*' Never mind it now. I should not like, 
Griselda, to be left with nothing to do." 

''It is what I feel. I am so idle here. I 
must go where I can get harder work." 

" Griselda, what do you mean ? Why, child, 



238 A DREAMER. 

a few months ago you were quite pleased with 
your work here, and said you were happy. 
What has happened ? " 

" Nothing. I am not unhappy — I mean not 
very. But I can't stay here." Her voice 
trembled. 

'' You want to leave us, Griselda ? Are you 
tired of us ? We should miss you dreadfully, 
mamma and I." 

Griselda knelt before Janet, with her head 
on her friend's knees. *' I don't want to leave 
3/0U. I would rather stay with you. Janet, 
let us all come and live in London. There 
would be plenty to do there. And we should 
see Jessie, and Dr Henslow." 

*' My dear, I have quite enough to do here ; 
and your beloved Jessie and the doctor are no 
attraction to me, for I am sure they would not 
speak to me. I remember him quite well. A 
most dictatorial, cross, implacable " 

" Ah, he was so kind !" said Griselda ; " but 
sometimes I wonder if they are angry with me 
for writing so seldom. I must go and see them 
at once when I get to London." 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 239 

" To London ! Bless the child ! What has 
bewitched her ? Pray, Griselda, what do you 
propose to do In London ? " 

'' I don't quite know. There are so many 
things. I should like to be a hospital nurse, 
Janet." 

" My dear, they would not be foolish enough 
to take you Into any hospital except as a 
patient." 

" Or I should like to take care of little chil- 
dren who have no parents. But, I suppose, I 
could hardly do that yet." 

" I should think not, indeed." 

" I could teach little children. Sometimes 
I think I will ask Mrs Austin to let me come 
back. She was a very good woman." 

" You foolish child ! Mrs Austin would not 
let you In. And you know you don't like 
teaching even as much as I do." 

" I am not afraid of very little children." 

** And pray, what will you do with your 
music ? " 

" I am rather puzzled about that. I might 
write a song or a piece sometimes : not very 



240 A DREAMER. 

often. It is very troublesome putting it on 
paper. And I think I should die of fright if I 
had to appear in public now, Janet." 

Miss Lindsay laughed. '' You had better 
stay here, Griselda, and go on playing the 
organ in church. Your schemes are all non- 
sense." 

" I must go." 

*' My dear, you are in low spirits. You 
want change of air. Wait till we have been 
a week by the sea, everything will seem 
brighter then." 

*' No, Janet, things don't get brighter. 
People can't be happy unless they are of use. 
I don't think I am wanted here ; and when I 
am an old woman it will be worse. People 
can't begin new lives when they are old, I 
want to begin some life now that I can go on 
with, so that I shall be of use when I am "old. 
There must be plenty of things for lone 
women like me, who don't belong to any one, 
to do. I must go and look for something." 

** Wait a little longer, Griselda, please, and 
we will go away." 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 241 

" Oh, don't take me away. I will wait a 
little while, Janet, if you wish ; but don't take 
me away for a holiday. I couldn't bear it." 

Two or three days later Griselda saw old 
David hobbling up to the door of Ivy Cot- 
tage. He brought her a note in Philip's 
handwriting. She went to her room and 
opened it sadly. 

*' Dear Griselda, — I am at the Moat for 
one day. I have something to tell you. It 
is of importance, and it relates to your cousin 
Agnes. Can you come to the old house this 
afternoon for half an hour ? We can talk 
better here, I think, than at the Cottage ; but 
if you prefer it, I will come to you. I wish to 
tell you the news myself Prepare your mind, 
Griselda, for a shock, which I know will not 
be wholly a pleasurable one to you. — Yours, 

The letter fell from Griselda's fingers, and 
she sat long with her hands clasped and her 
tearful eyes closed. The dismal rain pattered 

VOL. III. Q 



242 A DREAMER. 

on her window, and the wind howled and 
moaned in the chimney : but she did not hear 
them, save as the echo of her own heart's 
beating. But she did not cry aloud. She 
was not thinking of herself : she was thinking 
of Philip and of her beautiful cousin whom he 
had loved long ago. 

'* It is nice of him to want to tell me him- 
self," she said. " I must not hurt him if I 
can help it. I wish I looked brighter and 
happier for his sake. O God, bless him ! God 
bless him and comfort him ! Oh, I do hope 
Agnes is better than I think her. I hope she 
will love him and give him a happy home, 
better than poor Oliver's. I must not let him 
see one tear when he tells me. I am really 
glad. I hope I shall be able to tell him so. 
God bless him always ! " 

She rose and tied on her hat, having given 
it a little shake and a little pinch, that it 
might be prettier than usual. She wrapped 
herself in her warm grey shawl, for it was 
bitterly cold ; but she fastened a pink monthly 
rose at her neck, that she might look less pale 



PICKING UP DROPPED STITCHES. 243 

and faded when he told her his good news. 
And she wrote his name in a worn copy of 
her favourite Mihon, and put it in her pocket, 
that she might have something to give him for 
a token that she was very glad. 

As she went out she stopped to kiss Mrs 
Lindsay, and one little tear rolled down her 
cheek, and one little sob rose in her throat ; 
but she said nothing to any one, and she 
smiled sorrowfully as she walked along the 
dreary road. 



PART VIII. 



AFTER MANY DAYS 



CHAPTER I. 

Agnes had taken her Httle girl to Salehurst for 
change of air ; she had induced Mr Temple to 
go with her also, and Philip. 

*' I want you to look over some things for me, 
Philip," Agnes had said, '' and to give me your 
advice about a few trees that Bailey thinks 
should be cut down. I don't know whom to 
consult about those sort of things now." 

Philip went, not altogether unwillingly ; he 
was tired of being at home. 

But something in the atmosphere of Sale- 
hurst always oppressed him, and Agnes's 
difficulties proved to have been rather an 
excuse than a reality. After two days, Philip 
was restless again, and began to talk of going 
to London. Agnes was disappointed. " One 
day more, please, Philip. You are so useful to 



248 A DREAMER. 

me," she said persuasively, little thinking of 
the result one day might have. 

In the evening of this extra day, Mrs 
Temple was reading to Lily, who was some- 
what restive under the operation, and not 
very attentive to the religious story which 
kind "grandmamma" (so Agnes had taught 
the child to call her grandaunt) had selected 
for her edification. Mrs Temple was duti- 
fully fond of Lily, but she admitted that she 
was a '' difficult " child, and quite agreed in 
Agnes's opinion, that no one could manage 
her so well as Philip. Lily was tall and 
straight and strong ; she had fair hair and 
large blue eyes. She was beautiful as her 
mother, but not like her ; cold rather than 
reserved ; haughty rather than dignified. Mrs 
Temple was afraid of Lily. Agnes had de- 
coyed Philip into the library, under some 
feeble excuse of papers on which she wanted 
advice. Philip hated the library. It was 
fraught with unpleasant memories for him. 
It was here that he had parted from Agnes 
long ago ; It was here, a month before her 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 249 

husband's death, she had told PhiHp that, 
though a wife and a mother, she had never 
forgotten him. Agnes remembered all this, 
and looked at Philip with a tenderness scarcely 
concealed under her habitual dignity. Philip 
remembered it also, and felt embarrassed and 
annoyed. He was so accustomed to consider 
his own love for Griselda as the perfectly 
impassable barrier between himself and Agnes, 
that he hardly remembered the visible barrier 
had been thrown down on Oliver's death. But 
the look in Agnes's eyes to-night was unwel- 
come to him, and he tried to avoid any con- 
fidential conversation. He talked on trivial 
matters, and resolved to escape as soon as 
possible. 

" What a strange old cabinet this is ! " said 
Philip, examining Mr Mortimer's bureau which 
Agnes had opened; ''there Is one almost Iden- 
tical at Alton Moat ; of the same date evi- 
dently, and very likely from the same work- 
shop. Ours has not the carving here, but the 
Internal arrangements are similar." 

" It Is very useful," said Agnes, Indifferently. 



250 A DREAMER. 

*' Four drawers on the right : the one at 
Alton has three, and there Is a secret drawer 
behind — the best -concealed one I ever saw. 
This does not seem to have It, however." 

" No," said Agnes, ** there is no secret 
drawer." 

*' I am not sure though, Agnes : here Is 
something like it at this side. It is quite pos- 
sible, on the same principle as ours. This 
piece of wood you will find a sliding panel, I 
expect." 

*' I know there is nothing of the kind," said 
Agnes. '* Please attend to me now, Philip, 
and don't mind the cabinet. It Is getting late." 

Philip was absorbed in the trivial interest 
of the moment, however. 

'' It is, I declare, Agnes ! " he exclaimed 
suddenly, after a few unsuccessful efforts 
against the solidifying effects of time. '' Look, 
this panel pushes up a little way, then back, 
and then up again. Ours is at the other side, 
and goes down, not up. There Is the drawer, 
lock and all ! Now we have made a dis- 
covery ! " 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 25 1 

Agnes came nearer. She was too much 
alarmed to speak. 

" You had better open it, Agnes." 

*' Not to-night, I think," she faltered. 

** Why not ? Who knows what you may 
find in it?" 

" Please shut it, Philip, now. It is too late 
to-night." 

*' Surely no woman could have so little 
curiosity ! I am most inquisitive, Agnes. 
Pray, look in. The key of the other drawers 
will open it very likely. Whafs the matter ? 
Are you afraid the proverbial skeleton is in 
here ? Take my advice and face it. A skele- 
ton is nothing when you are used to it. There 
is one hanging in my astrologer's room at 
Alton which rattles horribly in a high wind. 
I am longing to see it again. Let us try the 
key, Agnes." 

" The key was lost," said Agnes ; and re- 
gretted the words immediately. 

" What key ? " Philip turned round sud- 
denly and looked at Agnes. She was pale 
as ashes. ** I thought you said you did 



252 A DREAMER. 

not know of the drawer?" said Philip, aston- 
ished. 

" I — I remember something about it now. 
Do come away, PhiHp." 

He did so at once, bewildered by Agnes's 
alarm, but feeling that it was no business of 
his. Her evident prevarication distressed him. 
He had begun to trust her word lately. They 
sat down at a distance, but they were both too 
much embarrassed to speak of anything else at 
the moment. The gloomy room, in which a 
lamp never seemed to illuminate more than its 
immediate surroundings, was quite still. The 
cabinet was left open, and the secret drawer, 
or rather shelf, was visible by the light of the 
candle Philip had left beside it. 

The old spring -lock had been long un- 
touched ; but Philip's vigorous blows and 
shakes, in opening the panel, had disorgan- 
ised it. As the two sat silent, Philip looking 
at Agnes, and Agnes staring at the table, a 
sudden click was heard like the shooting back 
of a bolt. Immediately the door of the secret 
shelf fell down with a violence that broke one 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 253 

of the rusty hinges. Agnes started to her feet 
with a little cry, and sprang forward, all her 
presence of mind deserting her. 

Philip rose also ; he had no wish to pry 
into Agnes's mysteries, but a sudden convic- 
tion that this was no innocent secret had 
established itself in his mind. Remembering 
a guess of the cunning old Mr Benson, which 
he had indignantly scouted at the time of 
hearinor it and thlnklno- of Griselda wander- 
inor out Into the world to seek her bread, 
friendless and deserted, in poverty and hard- 
ship, Philip strode past Agnes to the now 
opened hiding-place, and drew forth her grand- 
father's missing will. 

Agnes sank Into a chair. *' What a strange 
discovery ! " said her stiff lips, vainly seeking 
to feign Ignorance. She could scarcely have 
seen what the document was as Philip held It, 
somewhat away from her, with his back to the 
candle. He raised his eyes and fixed them on 
her scared, white face, remembering that once 
long ago he had seen that same expression 
there. The quick flush of pain rose on Philip's 



254 A DREAMER. 

haggard face, and he pressed his brow with 
his hand. 

" O Agnes, what have you done ? " he said, 
gravely. 

" I ? Done ? What do you mean ? " said 
Agnes, stammeringly. 

" You put this there," he said, slowly and 
incisively, but sadly. 

" I did not, Philip — on my honour," said 
Agnes, more boldly. 

*' Then you knew it was there." Philip 
spoke with a quiet conviction in his tones, 
and without any shadow of a question. 

*' No," said Agnes, faltering again. 

There was a long silence. Philip was read- 
ing the document dreamily, and Agnes sat 
shivering and clutching the arm of her chair 
with trembling fingers. 

** There is no use in trying to deceive me 
now," said Philip, without raising his eyes. 
Presently he looked up, glanced at her for a 
moment, then fixed his gaze beyond her on 
the darkness. 

Agnes looked round fearfully. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 255 

'' What is it ? What are you looking at ? " 

Again PhiHp looked at her. " I see Henry. 
Your grandfather's heir." 

'' What do you mean? Philip, you are mad! 
What is it ? " She drew back from him terror- 
struck. " Henry ? What do you mean ? " 

Philip smiled bitterly and recovered himself. 
'' I am not mad, Agnes. Never mind. Tell 
me the truth. You knew of this ? " 

She made no reply. The sudden terror 
with which he had inspired her prevented 
further lying. 

"Your father told you something on his 
deathbed ? He gave you a charge : it related 
to this ? " 

Still no reply. *' I understand now, Agnes," 
said Philip, and was silent again. ^' I shall 
see that justice is done," he said presently ; 
''it is not too late, though it is after many 
days." 

Then Agnes rose and came to his side. 
" Listen to me, Philip : you shall do what- 
ever you please. I will give up everything, 
of course. I have often wished to do that. 



256 A DREAMER. 

But you need not '' She paused, seeking 

a word that would not wound her pride. 

*' Expose you ? " said Philip. *' I make no 
promises." 

'' There is no necessity to — say I knew 
of it. Besides, I did not. I never saw it 
before.^' 

" Hush, Agnes ! There has been enough 
— deception." 

" For Lily's sake, Philip. For the sake of 
the past " 

** The past of which you speak, Agnes, has 
nothing but bitterness for me. The thought 
that I was almost mixed up in this fraud leaves 
no room for tender recollections." 

" Agnes," said Philip sternly, after a few 
minutes, "you have deceived us all. And 
you have played at goodness lately, and al- 
most made me forget your falseness." 

'' I was not false to you, Philip." 

" To me ? What has that to do with it ? " 

*' You are like Oliver," said Agnes, sinking 
into her chair again ; ** you have no heart." 

" Poor Oliver ! " said Philip. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 257 

'' He knew it too. He tied me down to it," 
said Agnes, bitterly. 

Philip gazed at her with wondering pit}^ 
" How could you bear to do it, Agnes ? — all 
these years ? And when you saw Griselda In 
such poverty ? I cannot understand it." 

" No ; you never do wrong, of course. You 
never fall into temptation. We all know 
that." 

Philip covered his face with his hand. He 
made no answer. There seemed no use in 
talkinor to Ag-nes. 

o o 

" I am sorry It has fallen to my lot to put 
this matter right, Agnes," he said, after a 
pause. 

'' What are you going to do ? Will you 
have no mercy for poor Lily's sake ? " 

" I am afraid you don't care much for Lily. 
I don't know what I am going to do ; but I 
shall see that justice is done. I will speak to 
you again in a few days. Till then, promise 
me that you will do or say nothing." 

'' What should I do ? Whom should I tell ? 
I am at your mercy ; and you have none." 

VOL. III. R 



258 A DREAMER. 

Philip left her, not answering her last words. 
He went into the room where Mrs Temple 
was still reading about " The Lost Canary " to 
the unwilling Lily. 

She rose at once, closing the book on seeing 
the expression on her son's dark face. 

'* Mother, go and pack your things as soon 
as possible. You and I will sleep in London 
to-night, and to-morrow you can return home. 
I will send a telegram to my father to an- 
nounce you. I shall be otherwise employed." 

'' He is not ill, Philip?" 

''Who?" 

" Your father. Philip, what has hap- 
pened ? " 

" Nothing to my father. But I w^ish you 
to leave this. You will not see Agnes again 
to-night, I daresay. Your good-byes can be 
written to her." 

'' Dear Philip — you are not well. Some- 
thing has pained you." 

'* Very much so." 

The mother threw her arms round his neck. 
Philip returned her kiss with a glow of affec- 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 259 

tion and a thanksgiving for his simple, honest 
parents, and their love to him. 

" Has she refused you, Philip ? " whispered 
poor Mrs Temple, wishing Lily would not 
stare at them so. 

" What do you mean ? " said Philip, with- 
drawing from her caress. 

" I had hoped so much " 

" Hush, mother! You do not know what 
you are saying. Ask no questions. You are 
not the first person to be told this thing. 
Perhaps you will never hear it. Go and pre- 
pare to leave the house. The train is in 
three quarters of an hour. Lily, my little 
woman, come here." 

The child obeyed, less willingly than usual. 

He took her in his arms and kissed her 
without a word. 



26o 



CHAPTER II. 

" I HOPED you would look better," said Grls- 
elda gently, when the first words between 
herself and Philip were over. 

She was sitting before the fire, her hat and 
the grey shawl thrown aside ; a little glow on 
her cheeks, and a faint smile upon her lips. 
The astroloorer's room looked more comfort- 
able in winter than in summer. The gloom 
was not observable, now that the lamp was 
lighted and the fire was blazing cheerfully. 

'' I am come here to tell you something," 
said Philip, abruptly. 

" Yes ; I think I know a little of what it is," 
she answered, helping him. 

" How can that be, Griselda ? It has come 
as a great surprise to me." 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 261 

" Other people are sometimes wiser than 
one Is one's self. You may tell me, Philip. 
I am quite prepared, and ready to be glad," 
she added, shyly. 

" I think you are under some delusion. 
Pray, Griselda, what are you thinking of ? " 

She did not reply at once. " Dear Philip," 
she said earnestly, after a moment, " I hope 
you will be happy : there Is nothing I wish 
so much." 

Philip was too much puzzled to speak. 
Griselda went on more lightly, for her com- 
posure was shaken somewhat. " And com- 
fortable, I hope. You are not comfortable 
here. Look how untidy you are ! I never 
allowed you to throw the books on the floor 
so. And why have you been poking among 
the gloomy old books, when you have good 
news to tell ? " 

Philip shook his head. " No, Griselda; you 
are making some mistake. I don't believe 
you will think it all good news. It has pained 
me very much." 

" What is It ? " said Griselda, looking up. 



262 A DREAMER. 

The flush had already subsided on her pale 
cheek. 

'' Do you remember that when your grand- 
father died his will was lost ? He meant In 
the end to leave his property to your father, 
but Mr Mortimer took It because the old 
man's last will was not to be found." 

''Yes?" 

"It is found now. Mr Mortimer was a 
deceiver : he concealed his father's last will, 
and stole his brother's Inheritance. On his 
deathbed he repented, and confided to his 
daughter — Agnes — what he had done, trust- 
Inor to her to make restitution. She continued 
the fraud. It Is discovered now. Here Is the 
lost will/' and he laid It on the table. 

Griselda raised her eyes for a mom.ent, and 
dropped them again. " I mean to see justice 
done," said Philip, sternly : " you are the heiress, 
Griselda, not Agnes. Are you not surprised?" 
he added presently, as she did not speak. 

'' Not very much. Mr Benson told me 
something about it before. I have not trust- 
ed Agnes for a long time. O Philip, I am 
very sorry for yoic ! You trusted her." 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 263 

" She has taken me in again," said Philip, 
bitterly. " I found her out before somewhat, 
but I thought her changed lately. I had 
allowed a friendship to spring up between 
us. Griselda," he cried, with passion, " I hate 
the sound of her name ! She has been actinor 
a lifelong lie, and injuring you — and yet I 
have been at peace w^ith her, and I loved her 
once ! " 

'' Then, Philip, be more gentle to her." 

" No ; I shall never forgive her. How could 
I forgive any one for injuring you 1 " 

" I wonder if it was such a great injury ? 
And,' Philip, wc want to be forgiven for the 
injuries we did." 

"It was a different thing, Griselda. It was 
not a lifelono^ fraud." 

" It was different. I don't think it was 
better.^' She was silent for several minutes. 
'' Did you find it, Philip ? " 

" Yes, I found it. I made her tell me all. 
Then I came to tell you." 

" And no one else knows 1 " 

" As yet, no one else." 

'' I don't want to be rich. I should not know 



264 A DREAMER. 

what to do with a heap of money. I have 
enough." 

" It is your right." 

" But must I take it ? " 

PhiHp did not answer. 

*' It is so different from what I expected," 
said Griselda presently, with a sigh. 

'' Yes ; what were you talking about, Gris- 
elda?" 

She replied, shyly, " I thought you were 
going to be married. I had heard something 
about it. I was glad. I thought you would 
be happier." 

'* But what nonsense it is, Griselda ! Did 
you believe it ? How could I marry any one 
but you ? " 

" I thought you were going to marry Agnes," 
she said, gently. 

'' After ^/izs f " 

'' I did not know of this. I see now you 
could not marry her. Poor Agnes ! " 

'* I never even thought of it. Did you sup- 
pose I had forgotten you, Griselda ? " 

'* I did not think you had forgotten. But 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 265 

why should your life be blighted ? You would 
be better with a happy home and a wdfe who 
loved you. But I am glad you did not think 
of Agnes." 

" I have never thought of any one. What 
you say is very sensible and true, Griselda, 
I daresay. Other people have told me to 
marry. I could not do it." 

Griselda's soft eyes filled. " Ah, I have 
spoiled your life ! " she cried, impulsively. 

" No, Griselda ; my life is not exactly spoil- 
ed, I hope. Why should it be ? There must 
be other thino^s in the world besides love and 
marriage. I intend my life to go on as it 
used — with a drawback, it is true ; but what 
life has no drawbacks ? " 

" That Is what you have been trying," said 
Griselda, looking up with loving, grieving 
eyes — " to go on as before." 

" Yes, except that I never worked so hard 
before. I have not exactly succeeded yet," he 
added, with a grim smile. He sat down by the 
table, leaning his head on his hand. "It has 
been hard work doing without you," he said. 



266 A DREAMER. « 

She came over to his side, laying her hand 
on his shoulder. " Ah, you have been ill," 
she said, softly ; '' you look worse than when 
I saw you last." 

" I am worse. You had comparatively 
cured me then." 

'* And I thought you had sent for me to 
rejoice over something," said Griselda. 

" Would you have rejoiced ? " he asked, 
looking up. 

" I should indeed," said Griselda. 

Two or three minutes passed. Then Philip 
rose. 

" I hate thinking of myself so much. But 
it takes the strength out of a man — this kind 
of thing. Griselda, will you help me again ? 
My fate seems in your hands, somehow. I 
can't take it out of them too suddenly. If I 
come and stay here a little while, may I see 
you sometimes ? Will you come and read 
to me as you did in the summer — and take 
a walk with me occasionally ? And sing to 
me ? I won't shut myself up in the tower 
again ; but I must see you sometimes. Then, 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 267 

perhaps, I could gather up a little strength, 
and take myself off altogether." 

" Where to ? " 

" I don't know. Will you do this, Grlselda ?" 

*' Gladly." 

" But perhaps you are going away from this 
place, now that you are a great lady ?" 

Grlselda was silent. She sat down before 
the fire again, her pretty lips compressed. 

" You don't seem to care about it, Griselda," 
said Philip, with a smile. 

" I think it is a positive misfortune," she 
replied, laughing. " What good does it do 
any one ? It only makes us think very badly 
of poor Agnes." 

" None but ourselves need know how guilty 
she has been." 

" But I won't have the money ! What 
should I do with it ? I could not take 
Agnes's money. I need not, need I ? No 
one can force me to ? " 

" Of course not. The lost document might 
have been destroyed long ago. I wonder it 
was not. It can be destroyed now. But I 



268 A DREAMER. 

am not going to influence you to throw away 
your fortune," he said, smiHng again. 

'' I could not believe it mine. But it will 
be very hard to trust Agnes again." 

" I shall never trust her again. Come and 
read it, Griselda." They stood together at the 
table, bending over old Mr Mortimer's last tes- 
tament, by which he bequeathed the bulk of 
his money and all his estates to his natural heir 
— his eldest son. Griselda read impatiently. 

" Dear ! how long it is ! and I don't half 
understand it. What a queer way it is written ! 
and why does he say the same thing over and 
over again ? " 

" That is the proper way to write a will. 
Ah, the old man's hand was shaky when he 
wrote his name ! " 

'' Give it to me," said Griselda, as Philip 
drew back, the perusal finished. He was 
watching her as she stood before the fire, the 
yellow parchment in her hands, and her eyes 
bent on the long unread words. Griselda 
looked like her old self just then — bright and 
pretty, her cheeks flushed, her eyes sparkling. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 269 

"I won't have a penny of it ! " cried Gris- 
elda, vehemently. "No one shall know any- 
thing about it ! " and she threw the lost will 
into the flames. 

" Oh, stop, Griselda ! " said Philip, springing 
forward ; '' what are you doing ? " 

She checked him, taking his hands. 

" Is it not the thing you would best like me 
to do ? " she said, gravely. 

Philip smiled again. 

They stood before the fire, holding each 
other's hands, and watched the parchment 
slowly kindling — blazing — blackening. The 
dancing flames shone on Philips dark face, 
just now brightened by enthusiasm and sat- 
isfaction ; they glowed on Griselda's pink 
cheeks and shininor hair. For a lonof time 
the two stood, hand in hand, in the firelight. 
When nothinor but ashes remained of her 
grandfather's will, Griselda raised her eyes 
to her companion's, and they looked at one 
another with a smile. Then Philip bent down 
and lightly touched her forehead with his lips. 

Griselda's flush deepened. She drew away 



2/0 A DREAMER. 

her hands very gently, and slowly turned from 
the hearth. 

" I never wish to be rich," she said, quietly ; 
*' once I wished it — but it was not for myself 
exactly. I should not know how to spend a 
great deal of money. Agnes does know, I 
think. Now that it is all hers quite honestly, 
she will spend it very well, I hope." 

'' I don't think you will regret what you 
have done," said Philip. 

'' I am sure I shall not." 

'' But I was prepared to fight your battle 
to the last, and see you righted, Griselda ! I 
like what you have done better. How dif- 
ferent you are from Agnes ! Long ago she 
refused to make a little sacrifice " 

" Now you are talking nonsense," said Gris- 
elda ; '' I have made no sacrifice. It was no 
temptation to me. Giving up what one does 
not want is not making a sacrifice." Her lips 
quivered with the last words, she knew not why. 

" But you can make sacrifices, Griselda," said 
Philip. Their thoughts had wandered. 

" One has to, sometimes," she answered, 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 271 

wrapping her shawl around her ; '' there is 
no merit in that. One does not like it." 

** Of course not ; it would be no sacrifice if 
one did — as you say. When people talk of 
giving up gladly, you may be sure they mean 
to choose themselves the article to be re- 
nounced, and that it will be a thing they don't 
care about." Philip spoke fiercely. 

" Only in some cases," Griselda answered, 
her face averted and her voice agitated, '* one 
is glad to give up a thing one does care for, as 
a sort of punishment to one's self. It is sac- 
rifice in a different sense : an outward and 
visible sign of an Inward and spiritual — pain 
— or repentance." 

'* Sometimes I think It is a heathen notion, 
Griselda," said Philip, In a low voice. 

She raised her eyes to his, but lowered them 
again immediately. Philip walked home with 
her, for It was late and dark, but they did not 
speak again. 

She had dropped her pink rosebud on the 
hearth. Philip found It. He kept the slender 
memorial this time. 



272 



CHAPTER III. 

The next day Philip returned to Salehurst. 
He found his father there. Agnes was cold 
and silent, quite unlike her usual self. So 
much perplexed was Mr Temple by her man- 
ner, and by the curious way in which his son 
had sent Mrs Temple home for no apparent 
rhyme or reason, that Philip was obliged to 
explain matters to him to keep him quiet. 

Mr Temple — the most honest and straight- 
forward man in the world — was terribly shocked, 
and expressed himself so energetically against 
Agnes, that Philip found himself defending her, 
not a little to his own amusement. 

" I should never have believed it possible ! " 
said Mr Temple again and again. *' Really, 
Philip," he continued, " you should have given 
us a hint before. We have been much too 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 2^1 

intimate with her, and I have allowed her to 
work in my parish ! I believed her to be 
truthful as the day, and a child of God." 

Philip shrugged his shoulders. 

** I am horrified to think of the extent to 
which I have encouraged her ! " continued the 
poor clergyman. " Actually your mother and 
I have been wishing lately that she should 
be your wife after all." 

"It is you who have been spreading these 
reports, then ? I am not particularly obliged to 
you. I have no idea of marriage at present : 
certainly I have never thought of marrying 
Agnes since I was a boy." 

" I am most thankful you did not marry 
her ! " exclaimed Mr Temple. 

" I was very young in those days," said 
Philip, v/ith his quiet smile at himself. 

•'' Very. I warned you. I said you were 
too young to know your own mind. You see 
older people are occasionally right in what they 
say ; and now, if you would trust me " 

" My dear father," interrupted Philip, much 
amused, " you were right, no doubt ; but re- 

VOL. III. S 



274 A DREAMER. 

member, you were seriously annoyed with me 
for breaking off the engagement/' 

'' Because you gave no reason," said Mr 
Temple, apologetically. 

" On the whole, I don't think I managed 
badly, though I fear I paid but little atten- 
tion to your advice." 

'' It was always one of your faults/' said Mr 
Temple, sighing. " You never would listen to 
advice. Now, if you would trust me " 

" I don't want advice on the subject of mat- 
rimony," said Philip smiling, but serious. '' I 
am no boy now." 

" But if the young lady is to change places 
with her cousin " began Mr Temple. 

Philip laughed. He laughed so seldom that 
Mr Temple turned round, alarmed. Philip 
became more curious every day, he thought. 

" I suppose you mean Griselda," said the 
young man ; " she is not going to change 
places with her cousin. She threw the will 
into the fire." 

" My dear Philip ! how could you allow 
her to do such a thing .^ " 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 275 

''It was very irregular, no doubt; but she 
did it. I think it was the best thing she could 
do under the circumstances." 

" It would be impossible to establish her 
claim now : that sort of thine should never 
be done in secret and during a moment of 
excitement In any case it might have been 
difficult to prove her right. Now it is im- 
possible." 

" No one wishes to prove it. The affair is 
ended. It will go no further than ourselves." 

" Really, Phil," said Mr Temple, still dis- 
turbed (he was a most straightforward man, 
distinguished for common-sense), " I am most 
thankful you are not going to marry Agnes, or 
it might be thought you had used undue influ- 
ence with Miss Mortimer to " 

Philip laughed again. " I am certainly not 
going to marry Agnes, and it makes very little 
difference whether I persuaded Griselda or 
not. As it happens, I did not ; but I approve 
thoroughly." 

" Oh, so do I ; only not of the mode in 
which it was done. Agnes will be punished 



276 A DREAMER. 

enough, I daresay, without losing her money," 
he continued, with a sigh. " If she at all 
values our friendship and intimacy, she will 
be oblleed to feel them withdrawn." 

" I don't think this is the moment to with- 
draw your kindliness when, for the first time, 
she stands before you as she is — as an honest 
woman." 

'' I know my duties as God's minister, 
Philip," said his father, stiffly. " If she is 
penitent, I am ready to administer the con- 
solations of the Church ; if she is not penitent, 
I will pray for her and exhort her. But I 
never wish my family to be intimate with her 
again." 

" I expect Agnes will improve now," said 
Philip. " When one has a big lie on one's 
conscience, it is hardly worth while to be sin- 
cere in trifles." 

*' A person who could do that," cried Mr 
Temple, emphatically, '' is capable of " 

" Of any crime ? Not so, my dear father. 
Agnes is too dignified to be capable of any 
crime." 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 277 

'' Oh that worldly dignity," sighed the 
clergyman ; " it is often a hindrance to re- 
pentance." 

" There are different kinds of repentance," 
began Philip, oracularly. *' Dignity is an as- 
sistance to " 

" There is only one kind of real repentance," 
said Mr Temple : " the godly sorrow which 
worketh repentance not to be repented of. 
The sorrow of the world, Philip, worketh 
death." He looked at his son's careworn 
face as he spoke. Philip made no answer, 
but he drew his father's arm in his and led 
him out for a walk. Somehow Philip had felt 
quite cheerful the last two days. 

Agnes's coldness never relaxed in the least. 
Mr Temple endeavoured to reach her heart, 
but unavailingly. She said as little as pos- 
sible on what had occurred, accepted Gris- 
elda's wish without a demur, and announced 
her intention of going abroad for at least a 
year with her little daughter. She horrified 
Mr Temple, who thought this pride and dis- 
dainful contempt of penitence were almost 



2/8 A DREAMER. 

more terrible than her long deception. But 
Philip rather admired her composure and dig- 
nity, and was quite ready to believe that she 
shed tears of sorrow in secret. 

He did not forgive her for being evidently 
angry with Griselda ; but her coldness to him- 
self seemed to him thoroughly natural and not 
unpleasant. 

'' Will you send Griselda a message, Agnes ?" 
said Philip, as he was leaving the house. 

" You may give her my love," said Agnes, 
calmly. Mr Temple looked up in astonish- 
ment ; but she added no more. 

Afterwards, however, Agnes wrote to her 
cousin, carefully avoiding all allusion to past 
events, and saying that she had long ago 
determined to give Griselda a certain sum of 
money as a marriage dowry ; and that as her 
cousin declared herself to have renounced all 
idea of marriage, she hoped she might be 
allowed to give her the money now, as a token 
of gratitude and affection from one who would 
always take a tender interest in her welfare. 

Philip was very angry with the tone of this 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 279 

letter; but he agreed with Grlselda in think- 
ing it a species of apology and a plea for 
reconciliation. The young girl indeed was 
ready to make all excuses possible for her 
cousin, and put the most favourable construc- 
tion on her conduct. 

" I wish to be friends with her," she cried ; 
'' and it is not right to despise her. You must 
speak kindly of her, Philip, to me, if you speak 
of her at all." 

After lonor consultation between the two in 
the old tower of Alton Moat, and in Mrs 
Lindsay's drawing-room, they agreed that it 
would be churlish to refuse Agnes's offer ; and 
Griselda wrote her a loving little letter accept- 
ing it, and asking if she might come and pay 
her cousin a visit, to show how strong she had 
grown in the eastern counties. But Agnes 
answered that she and Lily were starting for 
Nice immediately, and her cousin's visit must 
be deferred till her return. Griselda was not 
at all sorry for the postponement. Only dire 
necessity could have taken her from home just 
then. 



280 



CHAPTER IV. 

It was nearly a month later. The short 
wintry day was dull and grey and cold. It 
was the afternoon, and It was closing in rapid- 
ly. Across the flat, damp, pasture-land near 
Alton Church came two persons, walking 
slowly and lingeringly — often looking at each 
other, but not talking much. They wandered 
about somewhat, occasionally retracing their 
former steps, and now and then pausing to 
finish an interesting remark, or to look at the 
grey sky faintly coloured near the horizon ; 
the low-lying ground, with its bare tree-rows ; 
the rushes and long weeds by the numerous 
pools along the path. One way was much 
the same as the other in this weather, and 
they were not heeding their locality much. 
At a little distance some children were 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 281 

bending over the pond where In summer the 
water-HUes had bloomed, and the forget-me- 
nots had wreathed the banks. They were 
drowning something — a puppy, perhaps ; and 
Griselda and PhiHp watched, hardly knowing 
why. The world was rather dreary to-day. 
Perhaps the puppy would be better off in the 
pond, under the broad green leaves of the 
lilies, and the drooping boughs of the weeping 
willow. Presently the children stepped back. 
The deed was done. They were crying. The 
silent spectators joined them. 

" What was It ? " said Griselda. 

'' The red kitten," replied the eldest little 
girl, sobbing. 

" Why did you do it ? " 

" Mother said It was one too many," an- 
swered the boy, rubbing his eyes with his 
sleeve ; " and there wasn't no milk for it. She 
kep' two on 'em, but no one wanted this 'ere 
red one, she said." 

" Let us follow them," said Philip ; and they 
went into the cottage, for the mother, the only 
laundress at Alton, was well known to them 



282 A DREAMER. 

both. She entertained them with a long 
history of the trials and sicknesses shut up 
within the four walls of the cottao^e. 

" I don't say nothing against Providence, 
Miss ; but it do seem as if things get harder 
and harder every year. There's little Johnny 
been ill ever since midsummer, and him so 
fretful in the house, there ain't no doing no- 
thing. And my man, hes sober enough, and 
kind to the childer' ; but what can you expect 
of a man where the house is all of a pickle ? 
Natural-like, he goes to the Rainbow. Bless 
you, sir, he'd be in the way if he allays stuck 
to the chimley-corner ! but how's the wages to 
be kep' that way ? Law, Miss, it's not so easy 
as the distric' lady thinks, when there's only 
one pair of hands to clean and tidy, and eight 
pairs to dirty and mess for 'em. But it ain't 
my way to scold 'em, poor dears, for what's in 
their nature, just as it's in that 'ere cat's nature 
to pry into everything because her red kit's 
been drownded." 

For the bereaved tabby cat was wandering 
restlessly round the room, uttering an occa- 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 283 

sional short mew as she looked for her stolen 
kitten — the red one that nobody wanted. 

" Tell your man to come and play a game 
of cards with David this evening," said Philip ; 
" It won't be so amusing as the Rainbow, but 
he can have his glass of beer for nothing." 

" I wonder what the district lady would 
say ? " w^hispered Griselda, stooping to pet 
the cat. 

'' What a good thing it would be," she said, 
as they left the cottage, " if some of the human 
red kittens were put under the water-lilies too!" 

"It wants a higher power to do it,'* replied 
Philip ; '' not the red kitten's fellow-pussies. I 
observe that the higher powers do occasionally 
remove our useless ones. If it was left to us, 
Griselda, we might not always pick out the red 
one. We might drown the best dark tabby by 
mistake." 

They were silent as they walked on. By 
the low churchyard wall, Griselda paused. 

" What are you thinking of, Philip ? " 

*' I am trying to imagine. Did you ever sit 
down to try and imagine ? " 



284 A DREAMER. 

" You ought to be good at it. You always 
were fond of imagining." 

'* To-day I want to imagine the ^ru^k ; that 
is not so easy." 

'' Tell me what It Is about." 

" I am wondering, Griselda," answered 
Philip, looking down upon her, " what Ralph 
would think if he saw us together now." 

He spoke emphatically and suggestively. 
She coloured. Philip looked brighter and 
better than he had done a month ago ; but 
he was leaning on Griselda, and she knew it. 
He waited for her answer. 

" Ralph would like it," she said in a low 
voice. 

" It is time for me to be off again, Griselda, 
Is it not ? " said Philip, presently. " I have 
gathered up a little strength ; I am ready to 
face the world again." 

" But you have been so busy this time. 
You have not been idle. Must you go ? " 

" I think so. We have been happy these 
few weeks, Griselda, as we were In the sum- 
mer ; but this kind of thinof cannot eo on. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 285 

When two people love each other as you and 
I do — we have said nothing about it, but we 
both know it — they must marry, or they must 
part" 

'' Is it quite must?'' 

" Yes ; the relationship we are trying at 
present is an impossible relationship. It would 
be permanently good for neither of us." 

" You look so much better," said Griselda. 

'^ Of course I am better : you have more 
colour yourself" 

" How will it be when we part? " asked she, 
presently. " Will the angry eyes haunt you ? " 

" Probably. I don't see them now ; when 
I do, I don't mind them : it is different if 
I am alone. But I must bear all that. I 
think I shall go abroad : to America, I sup- 
pose. And you, Griselda, what will you do ? " 

" I make schemes sometimes. Janet thinks 
them nonsense. For the present, I suppose, 
I shall stay on here with Mrs Lindsay and 
Janet. I shall go on being the organist, and 
I will try and write some music sometimes." 

*' These are to be our lives then," said Philip. 



286 A DREAMER. 

'' They do not sound very lively. Can we 
invent nothing better ? " 

" We might marry," said Griselda, softly ; 
then she looked up with a faint sparkle of 
amusement in her eyes which he did not see. 
" I suppose I should have waited for you to 
say that," she added. 

" What does it matter which of us says it ? 
Of course we are both thinking of it. We 
might marry, Griselda." 

*' We said not, Philip : we said, we could 
not." 

" I know we thought so." Philip's tone was 
almost cross from excess of emotion. ** Per- 
haps we were wrong. It is making a great 
sacrifice, Griselda : what is the use of it ? 
What good does it do ? The only effect 
seems to be to render us both orood for 

o 

nothinor." 

o 

She looked up inquiringly. '' You are a 
little use, Griselda, to Mrs Lindsay and her 
daughter, but not much. They could do with- 
out you, particularly if you were to share this 
money from Agnes with them. You can easily 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 287 

manage it without telling them, as I sent them 
money before." Philip made this proposal 
very quietly ; he saw nothing strange in it. 

*' That is a very good idea," said Griselda. 

" I don't think you are very important now 
to Mrs Lindsay," he resumed ; " but what 
else can you do than what you are doing ? 
You talk of schemes. I have heard all the 
plans you propose. I don't think you are 
suited to any of those modes of life, and you 
will probably make a mess of them. If you 
had gone on at the opera you might have done 
pretty well. I don't think you would ever 
have been a great luminary in the profession, 
and now you are not even a little luminary." 

She could not repress a smile. 

" I have often wondered what I am suited 
for," she said, gently. 

" I think to be my wife/' answered Philip ; 
" you would not find that a difficult life, Gris- 
elda ? " 

She made no reply. 

*' Then for myself — I fancy I might find 
somethino- to do. I am more awake to the 



288 A DREAMER. 

necessity of such a step than In days of yore ; 
but I am sure of one thing, I should do it 
better — the something — if the conditions of 
my Hfe were changed — if I had you, Griselda, 
in fact. Don't you think I should ? " 

*' Yes, I daresay — but " 

" I know the ' but' The question is, if 
' but ' is important enough to outweigh the 
good life we might lead together. Other 
people think not ; other people tell us to 
marry." 

'' Other people do not know all," she said, 
shaking her head. 

" No ; therefore we must consult ourselves 
and not other people. Why did we say we 
should not marry, Griselda ? " 

" Don't let us go over it. We know so well 
— so well." 

" Perhaps we were wrong," said he again. 

*' Do you think so, Philip ? " asked Gris- 
elda, standing before him, and looking up in 
his face, her hand laid on his ; " because," she 
went on earnestly, *' if it is so — if we were 
wrong — I will be your wife if you wish. It 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 289 

would be bliss to me, not only because I love 
you," she said, simply, " but because it would 
seem like another chance Q^iven to me in life ; 
a chance to devote myself to some one ; to 
make some one happy ; to prove, by being 
faithful and loving and true, how I regretted 
— that I was ever — anything else to — to dear 
Ralph, — only I must be quite sure we were 
wrone in our first thoueht." 

Philip looked down upon her without an- 
swerinof for a minute. " Let us sit down here 
and reason it out, Griselda," he said, and they 
sat together on the low churchyard-wall. '' I 
can't, Griselda," said Philip, abruptly ; '' I can't 
reason it out. I can't think. There is much 
to be said on both sides ; and I can't balance 
moral arguments, and say which of two courses 
is the greater wrong or the greater right. It 
seems to me a bad thing, and one answering 
no good purpose, that our lives should be 
maimed and distorted in this manner; and 
it would seem a good thing if we were the 
happy husband and wife we might be, walking 
hand in hand up the pathway of duty, helping 

VOL. III. T 



290 A DREAMER. 

each other, strengthening each other, ennobHng 
each other. Any ideal of single life must 
come far short of that, and I think neither of 
us could marry any different person, Griselda, 
could we ? " 

" I think not. I am sure we could not." 

" The best way of showing repentance seems 
to me by doing better ; and better must mean 
the best possible, surely. And If the best for 
you and me Is marriage, Griselda ? But when 
I get there I stop, and I feel that these argu- 
ments don't really convince me. We might 
have said all that long ago, when we stole 
each other, Griselda." 

"It would not have been quite the same," 
she answered, in a low voice. '* Then we 
should have broken Ralph's heart : now he 
Is not here." 

*' But does a person's removal make so 
great a difference ? " 

" It pains me to think so. It pains me 
to think we should forget him." 

"We shall not forget him," said Philip, 
vehemently ; " we shall do nothing that would 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 291 

not meet with his approbation. Griselda, it 
comes back to the point from which we started. 
What would Ralph think ? You once said, 
Griselda, that we were not to consider our 
misery as Ralph's revenge. You said it would 
pain him to increase it." 

'' I was not thinking of our marrying when I 
said that. I meant that Ralph would like, if 
he knew all, to see us friends ; would like me 
to walk with you, talk with you, comfort you," 
whispered Griselda. 

'' But what is the spice of our friendship that 
makes it worth having ? Is it not our love ? 
And what would marriao^e be but love con- 
fessed ? If the one pains him, the other will 
too. If he could not bear to see us marry, he 
could not bear to see us friends." 

" I should have liked," said Griselda, *' to 
consider myself as his wedded wife, and you 
my friend, whom I love as he loved you." 

" Griselda, no : it is nonsense ; it is a mock- 
ery. If Ralph were alive, and you his wife, 
you would not dare to love me ; you would 
flee from me and fear me." 



292 A DREAMER. 

*' The love I meant was different. I did not 
say it was possible. I said, it is what I should 
have wished." 

** But it would have been very hard on me," 
said Philip, bitterly. " Griselda, don't be so 
cruel. Don't grudge me your love. I want 
it. You want mine, don't you, dearest ? I 
rejoice in your love. Don't pretend you would 
have been glad I had married elsewhere." 

*' Yes, I should have been glad. I loved 
you enough to be glad." 

*' But you would have been unhappy, Gris- 
elda?" 

" Of course I should." 

After a few moments he resumed — 

*' Griselda, It is absurd. How can we go on 
with this ? We are wedded already in heart. 
Will Ralph care that the earthly ceremony is 
missing ? " 

*' He will see we tried," she whispered, tear- 
fully. 

" We are not trying. I never try to love 
you less, Griselda. For God's sake, don't tell 
me my love for you is sin, or I will shoot my- 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 293 

self! And if the love Is right, why not the 
consummation ? " 

" Then you think we ought to do It ? " 

'' I can't think about ' ought.' Anything else 
seems impossible." 

''And zukat will Ralph say f she urged, 
sadly. He paused. 

" O Griselda/' cried Philip, presently, " do 
you remember Ralph — how good, and loving, 
and reasonable he was ? You say he would 
not rejoice In our misery. I go further. Gris- 
elda, If Ralph knew all, — how we fell without 
meaning it ; how we gave each other up ; how 
we were punished ; and how truly we love 
each other, and have always loved each other, 
long before we knew it, — I say he would re- 
joice to let you go : he would rejoice to see us 
together, and happy." 

" Should we be happy ? " 

*' There would be the old sorrow under- 
neath. But we should be happy. And why 
should we not ? If God Is holding out the 
cup of happiness to us, will It please Him 
to see It refused '^ Why should we burden 



294 A DREAMER. 

the world with a voluntary grief that helps 
no one ? " 

'' It would seem like purchasing happiness 
out of Ralph's pain." 

" Would it lessen Ralph's pain to break our 
hearts too ? I think it would increase it. He 
has lost you ; but if he loved you one quarter 
as much as I love you, he would be glad to see 
you happy." 

'' But is it always noble to accept that sort 
of sacrifice ? " 

'' Not if we can do better. Not if he were 
here, and you could make him happy. You 
can't, Griselda. He is in other hands. We 
were not worthy of him, perhaps. He is gone 
hopelessly. And you and I are left behind — 
together." 

He bent over her, saying the last word 
softly, and putting his arm round her. 

** Oh, I wish he were here to say God bless 
you both ! " sobbed Griselda. " I can't think 
about Ralph," she whispered, presently ; '' I 
don't know what he would like. But if I think 
of God, and of what He wishes, it all seems 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 295 

clear. It seems as if God meant us for each 
other, and as if He gave me a life-work in 
loving you/' 

They said no more just then. The point 
was still undecided apparently. Slowly they 
rose and turned homewards. Griselda was 
leaning on him ; and he, with one arm round 
her, very tenderly supported her trembling 
steps. It was cold and late, but they paused 
for a moment beside the pond with the faded 
lily-leaves. 

A soft grey sky, with one gleam of yellow 
light above the horizon ; a fiat pasture -land 
marked by a few leafless pollards and poplar- 
trees ; dark, unrippled water, in which was 
faintly reflected the white cottage and the 
two figures standing on the bank, their faces 
turned towards each other, and their hands 
clasped, — that was what Janet Lindsay saw, 
as she crossed the pastures on her way 
home from Ponchester, through the gather- 
ing dusk. She was not near enough to hear 
their voices. 

" It has been very lonely, Griselda,'' said 



296 A DREAMER. 

Philip, bending down towards the trembling 
girl. 

" Oh/' said Griselda, " I cannot bear It ! 
I have made enough people miserable. Let 
me make one person happy. I can do it. It 
must be right." 

" Yes," answered Philip, gravely ; '' I think 
it must be right. I dare to take you If you 
will come to me. Will you be my dear wife, 
Griselda ? " 

She looked up steadily In his face. For a 
moment they stood so, gazing Into each other's 
eyes. Then their lips met in one solemn kiss. 

'' My wife," said Philip ; and she answered 
with a low, choking sob — 

*' My husband ! Oh, thank God ! thank 
God ! " 

" It is such rest," she murmured ; and he 
replied In her words — " Thank God ! thank 
God ! " 



297 



CHAPTER V. 

« 

Janet waited till they had gone on. Then she 
made rapidly for the road, and reached home 
first. She met Griselda and Philip at the hall- 
door. 

Janet knew all about it, and she took the 
girl in her arms, and kissed her again and 
again. 

'' I never was so glad about anything be- 
fore," she said huskily to Philip ; " it is the 
first great joy we have ever had. But I shall 
miss her dreadfully. Come in, Griselda, and 
let us tell mamma. Come in, Mr Temple." 

In Mrs Lindsay's drawing-room hung two 
small portraits — one of Ralph, one of Henry 
Mortimer. Philip looked at both this evening. 
He paused before the picture of Griselda's 



298 A DREAMER. 

brother. Janet came over to him, for Griselda 
was talking in a low voice to Mrs Lindsay. 

" There is much to be atoned for," said 
Philip, gravely. " What is the best way to 
begin. Miss Lindsay ? " 

'* By marrying Griselda," answered Janet, 
smiling. *' Every one but you two knew that 
long ago." 

He pressed her hand in answer. 

"It is delightful to find that some lives do 
come right after all," said Janet, presently, 
and she kissed Griselda again. 

When Mrs Lindsay, content but a little 
puzzled, had given him her God-speed, Philip 
went home and wrote to his father : — 

" I acknowledge myself defeated," he began. 
'' I have taken your advice, my dearest father, 
and thank you for it. Be kind to my little 
wife, for she has had long suffering." 

Philip went into the garden late that night, 
for sleep seemed Impossible. It was raining 
as usual ; but the rain was sweet on the niorht 
air, and the wind was soft, wafting a dying 
fragrance from the strawberry-leaves. In the 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 299 

spring-time, when the primroses and violets 
were blooming, when the lambs were bleating 
in the fields, and the birds were singing in 
every tree, he would be here again — not 
alone. 

To-night he remained long beneath the 
bare boughs, dreaming and rejoicing — build- 
ing a castle in the air with stones of present 
gladness, cemented by the strong mortar of 
memories not always joyful, — till a sweet pres- 
ence seemed to fill the whole desolate garden, 
and fresh young voices were calling to him 
from every window of the shadowed, silent 
house. 

Janet Lindsay promised herself a great cry 
after she had bid Griselda ofood-niorht. It 
would be absurd, of course, but an undeniable 
relief Janet always apologised to herself for 
indulging in the weakness of tears. But Gris- 
elda had been such a delight to her. This 
childless, brethrenless woman had a large heart, 
the imperious necessity of which was to shelter 
some one. And Griselda had filled the lono- 
void in her affections so well. They had grown 



300 A DREAMER. 

SO fond of each other; and Janet was to lose 
her now. She was sincerely glad, for Gris- 
elda's sake, but the lonely woman's tears 
would come. 

She went into her child's room to kiss her 
again before she allowed herself to weep. 
Griselda was bending over Ralph's portrait. 

'' Am I doing right, Janet ? " she asked. 

" Yes, Griselda. Don't you think so your- 
self?" 

" I do," said Griselda, firmly. Then she 
sat down and cried vehemently, though tremu- 
lously : '' O Janet, you can't think, no one can 
ever know, what he is to me ! I love him, 
Janet. Do you know what that means ? No 
one could explain it. But I believe God 
wishes it for me. All the highest part of me 
is bound up in that love. If I believe God 
sends it, there is no puzzle left in life. But 
if I put it from me — and that seems now a 
desperately wicked thing to do — then every- 
thing is chaos, — the world is too hard for 
me, and there is no open way left. I am 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 301 

sure now it is right — God's will, God's 
sweet will. And His will never was sweet 
to me before, though I tried to pray ' His 
will be done.' But Philip wants me so much, 
Janet. I am sure I have no right to spoil 
his life. I shall never feel a doubt about it 
again." 

'' I am sure you will not, Griselda. Ralph 
would say the same. He would tell you to 
do it." 

" I wanted some one to say that to me," 
said Griselda, kissing the little portrait, and 
then flinging herself into Janet's arms. '* O 
Janet, I did like him too, but in a different 
way — in such a different way ! He was like 
my brother : but when I saw Philip first I was 
quite a little girl, and I loved him then, though 
he never seemed like my brother. If I had 
known what that love meant, I would never 
have said Yes to Ralph. Why did I ? Why 
did I ? O Janet, why did Ralph die and 
never understand ? " 

'' But I am sure he understands now, Gris- 



302 A DREAMER. 

elda. You must not cry. We are so happy- 
to-night." Janet was crying herself, however. 

" I am full of hope," sobbed Griselda ; " but 
I must cry for Ralph. We broke his heart. 
Janet," she whispered, presently ; *' will you 
pray for me that I may do my work properly ? 
— that I may never give my dear husband one 
heartache ? — that I may always help him to 
get nearer to God — never drag him down 
away from God ? " 

" I will, Griselda — I will," said Janet. 

She disappears here from these pages. She 
never married, nor altered materially from what 
we have known her. She was always a little 
hard, a little repellent, a little gloomy; but she 
was honest and brave, hard-working and God- 
fearing. She was not pathetic, not a martyr, 
not uncommon in any way ; but her life was 
incomplete, and she was disappointed. She 
loved Griselda more, perhaps, than other 
people ; and the two years Griselda spent in 
her home were the brightest portion of her 
life. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 303 

When next you see a brusque, plain, un- 
sympathetic governess, be gentle in your 
thoughts of her. Remember she has a life- 
history, as you have ; and perhaps all her 
castles in the air have fallen, as some of 
yours have done. 



304 



CHAPTER VI. 

It Is June again, and the warm afternoon sun- 
shine streams on the town of Ponchester, 
which Is In a state of unusual excitement, for 
an election is going on. It is contested, but 
the Liberal candidate is gaining the day now ; 
so report runs. We will not linger in the 
town, but cross the fiat pastures to Alton 
Moat. 

The warm afternoon sunshine is there too, 
bathing the garden In a flood of radiance. A 
scent of wild-flowers is blown across the fields 
and pastures ; the rooks are cawing overhead, 
and fluttering round the octagonal tower ; the 
cows know it Is near mllklng-time, and are 
lowing impatiently but most melodiously ; the 
lambs are calling loudly to their mothers as 
the shepherd moves among them thinking 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 305 

anxiously of washing and shearing. All these 
mellow noises are borne into the sun-flooded 
garden, not destitute of its own sweet summer 
sounds : for the nightingale has begun his 
evening song; the bees are preparing to swarm 
to-morrow; a dragon-fly, gleaming In steel and 
silver, has sailed twice, not silently, past the 
house ; and a thousand merry, buzzing gnats 
are dancing under the trees, or skimming the 
still surface of the water in the moat. Butter- 
flies of all hues are flitting silently among the 
flowers. The flowers ! when David, under 
Griselda's direction, tidied the garden a few 
years ago, he was not prepared for the fruits 
of his labour which he sees to-day. ''It is 
old times come again," he says proudly, as he 
walks along the neat paths, and surveys the 
wealth of bloom in every border. Perhaps, 
accustomed to trim beds of ribbon and Grecian 
pattern traced in lobelias and brilliant gera- 
nium-leaves, you care little for foxglove and 
sweet-william, rocket and larkspur, stock and 
lupin, wallflower and marigold, all mingled 
in wild profusion. But you will not despise 
VOL. III. U 



306 A DREAMER. 

the roses that have reared their heads in every 
available corner, — climbing roses; purple stand- 
ards ; dwarf cabbages ; Austrian briers ; sweet 
ivory Devoniensis; golden Marshal Niel; pure, 
pale Gloire de Provence. Do you smell the 
sweet-pea and the mignonette, the lavender, 
the honeysuckle, the lemon-thyme ? Do you 
know why, with every waft of the warm breeze, 
a delicious scent, fragrant as apples, but wholly 
unsuggestive of eating, assails you ? There 
are bushes of sweet-brier hidden behind the 
lilacs ; and if you look, you will see brilliant 
stars of rosy blossom decking their fragrant 
branches, the scent from which mingles with 
the odour of the newly-opened evening prim- 
rose that, tall and yellow, has taken root 
among the briers and evergreens. There are 
purple shadows thrown by the trees across the 
old house ; a long sunbeam has stretched its 
bright ray over the grass, and motes are danc- 
ing in it with the same suggestion of glad, 
tremulous life that you detect in the quiver- 
ing of the leaves, and the faint ripple and 
golden gleaming on the water. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 307 

It is a perfect garden for children. They 
can tumble out among the bushes from the 
low windows ; they can run over the borders 
unchecked by David, who knows the tiny 
footstep will never show among the tall peren- 
nials and straggling annuals ; they can climb 
the mulberry-tree by the low forked branches, 
and sit secure from observation among the 
broad leaves ; they can play endless games 
of hide-and-seek, for the guelder-rose, lilac, 
privet, and hazel bushes are thick and leafy ; 
they can fill their hands with flowers, and even 
pull them up by the roots if they like, for the 
profusion is too great to make a few losses 
calamitous. When they are tired, they can 
run round to the dairy, where old Margaret 
reigns, no churlish sovereign, among pans of 
cream, endless junkets and sillabubs, and in- 
numerable pots of jam. 

From the dairy it is a short way to the 
poultry- yard, on the low wall of which the 
peacock stands sunning himself, and watch- 
ing with lazy contempt the smart cocks and 
motherly hens who are always looking out for 



308 A DREAMER. 

a donation. There are swans sailing round 
the moat, and a Httle boat is moored among 
the water-Hlies, which is often put in requisi- 
tion for that always interesting voyage round 
the garden and the old house. But to-night 
old David is too busy for aquatic excursions ; 
and the two little people, who are playing on 
the sunny lawn, cannot touch the boat without 
him or a substitute, who, indeed, is generally 
preferred to David. 

The brown, sturdy, strong little pair are not 
old enough for many of the enterprising feats 
I have named, but they can roll and trot and 
tumble on the grass with that big dog, their 
constant companion, and their rippling baby- 
laughter is very pleasant to hear. They are 
more than two years old, little Eric and 
Arthur, Griselda's twin - boys ; and in the 
sunny nursery lies their wee sister Maggie, 
or Madge — the name is undecided yet, for 
she is only two months old. On a chair 
before the house sits grandmamma, Mrs 
Temple, busy embroidering a baby's frock, 
and occasionally looking up to watch the boys 



AFTER MANY DAYS. • 309 

at their play, or the young mother, who is 
gathering long sprays of guelder-rose and 
laburnum. Three years have dealt gently 
with Griselda ; she looks younger and fairer 
than she did on her marrias^e morninor. Mrs 
Temple watches her with motherly pride, and 
thinks her very lovely to-night. She has let 
her long burnished hair down to please her 
husband ; she has the same small, delicate 
face that he loved in days gone by ; the same 
dark, shadowy eyes ; the same sweet mouth — 
tender and pensive — the smile of which tells a 
long tale of present happiness and past sorrow 
unforgotten. 

Two people are coming through the house 
with its open doorways, into the gloomy sun- 
shine of the garden : on the threshold the 
foremost pauses to listen to a sound not really 
infrequent, but which always sends a thrill 
through him, and a sense of some delicious 
rarity not to be lightly checked. But Gris- 
elda's laugh is not a long one, and Philip and 
his father stride on to join the party in the 
garden. 



310 ■ A DREAMER. 

*' What are you making such a noise about, 
Zelda ? " says her husband, smiHng at her, as 
she springs to meet him, and to ask half 
anxiously, her arm round his neck drawing 
his head down to kiss her — 

" Well, the result ? What is it ? " 

Mr Temple answers the question, however, 
which has been echoed by his wife. She looks 
more anxious than Griselda, for she does 
not understand Philip's manner so well. He 
seems to have forgotten everything calculated 
to excite him, and is wholly occupied in watch- 
ing the little boys who are toddling over to 
him across the grass. 

" It is all right,'' replied Mr Temple. " He 
had an easy victory, and there were great 
cheering and delight among the people. I 
hope you will like seeing M. P. after your 
husband's name, Griselda." 

" Are you pleased, Philip ? " 

" Yes, Zelda ; and I sent a telegram to 
secure the little house in Kensington. You 
will please to become a Londoner now, and 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 311 

Alton shall be only our holiday-house. I wash 
my hands of it now," said Philip, turning to 
his father. 

" I washed my hands of it long ago," replied 
Mr Temple, smiling. 

" We must always meet here at Christ- 
mas," said Philip, " to feed my favourite 
carol -singers with buns and hot beer. That 
can't be done in the absence of the family." 

" Alton will always be home to me," said 
Griselda. 

'' Of course. But I have a lingering affec- 
tion for my bachelor residence. You sang to 
me there several times, Zelda." 

Griselda put her arm through her husband's, 
and they walked a little way among the flower- 
beds. 

'' That little house will remind me of Ralph," 
she said, softly ; " I never was there without 
him." 

Philip put his hand under her chin and raised 
the little face, that he might see its expression. 

" Ralph was oftener in it than any of my 



312 A DREAMER. 

friends/' he said. '* I shall like it all the 
better for that." 

** And I too," she answered, with a gentle 
smile. 

*' How quietly they take it ! " said Mrs 
Temple to her husband, not quite pleased 
by this irrelevance. 

Philip overheard the remark. 

" You don't rightly appreciate Alton, 
mother," he said ; '' it lies a litde way out of 
the world. It is enchanted ground. Ordinary 
business is not allowable here, and worldly 
turmoil and excitement cannot pass the port- 
cullis. I have been much excited in the town ; 
but I am not excited here. It is fairy-land, 
and fairy-land is not exciting. 

*' Ah ! " said Griselda, " we shall be sorry to 
leave it." 

'' You are not going to leave it," said Mr 
Temple. 

'' It is a place of refuge for us all," resumed 
Philip ; " a haven of rest. I tell you it is out- 
side the world. Look at the house — don't 
you see Time has no dominion there ? Look 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 313 

at the garden — does It call up any theory of 
space in your mind ? We are not In the 
world here." 

" Yes, we are somewhat," said Griselda. 
'' Time has power enough to ordain that 
before half an hour passes they will be here ; 
and their room Is not quite ready. You must 
come, Philip, and make the curtains draw 
better." 

The young husband and wife went In 
together. Visitors were expected to-night. 
Philip, the only able-bodied man in the place, 
for the household was small and unconven- 
tional, grappled with the rebellious curtain, 
and speedily reduced It to submission. Gris- 
elda put some roses In a stone basin fixed in 
the wall — once used, perhaps, for holy water. 
It was a pleasant, sunny room, quaint and old- 
fashioned, but very comfortable. On the dark 
wood of a ledge on the wainscoted wall she 
laid the long sprays of guelder-rose and la- 
burnum. Then she drew her husband's arm 
round her again, and took him into the nur- 
sery, where Baby Madge was already asleep, 



314 A DREAMER. 

and the boys were being undressed for bed. 
The visitors arrived ; they were bride and 
bridegroom — Agnes and her husband, the 
Rev. Augustus Waters. Lily was with them, 
the beautiful, ungracious child, who had still 
a smile for uncle Philip. 

Griselda greeted her cousin with a warmth 
that Agnes could not but enjoy. She was 
cold to Philip and to his parents. Mrs Temple 
had not seen her since her abrupt parting 
from Salehurst more than three years ago. 
The simple lady felt embarrassed, and Agnes 
detected It. 

But Griselda and Philip had forgotten that 
unpleasant story, and Mr Waters had never 
heard it. These three were thoroughly at 
their ease. 

*'We must congratulate you, Philip," said 
Agnes, ceremoniously. 

" I am much to be congratulated," he an- 
swered, not thinking of the election, but 
glancing fondly at Griselda. 

Agnes was more beautiful than ever — her 
cousin looked a mere child beside her. 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 315 

At supper — dinner was too worldly a meal 
for the evening at Alton — Philip talked in- 
dustriously to Agnes. He wearied her; she 
thought him tiresome. The lingering flame 
of her affection for him had been snuffed 
out by the part he had played during the 
most humiliating hour of her life. He felt 
her coldness, and he felt that it was not af- 
fectation. Philip was neither pleased nor 
sorry. 

Mr Temple watched Agnes with wonder 
and disapprobation mingled with affection. 
She was a very charming woman still, and 
he hoped much for her. 

But the cut of Mr Waters's coat, his low 
broad hat, and round collar fastened behind, 
showed Mr Temple that their theological 
opinions would differ. It was a relief to him 
— he was glad it was not his duty to be too 
friendly with Agnes's husband. 

But they were all apparently on the best of 
terms with one another, and the supper was 
a lively meal. Afterwards the conversation 
flagged a little in the drawing-room. It was 



3l6 A DREAMER. 

a large, low room, more modern in appearance 
than the greater part of the house. There 
were long windows opening to the garden, and 
from a deep recess In one corner an unex- 
pected narrow stone stair behind a thick cur- 
tain led to Griselda's boudoir. Griselda went 
to the piano, and astonished Mr Waters, a 
musical enthusiast, by her singing. Then, 
while her fingers were still wandering Idly and 
lovingly over the keys, her husband came to 
her side for a few minutes. She talked to him 
of a wish she had once expressed. *' I said I 
would rather be a great singer than anything 
else/' she told him, and wondered at herself. 

Philip, turning over the pages of an old 
music-book, came upon the first song she had 
ever sung to him — '' Ueber alien Glpfeln 1st 
Ruh." 

'' You shall sing me this, some day when we 
are alone, you little thing. Not to-night. It 
would be profanity. ' Balde ' has come now, 
my darling, has it not ? " 

In an undertone Agnes was telling Mr 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 317 

Waters that her cousin had sung at the opera 
for a short time ; and then she informed him 
of the day on which it would suit her to return 
to Salehurst. And Mr Temple allowed him- 
self a few words with his wife, while they both 
looked at Philip and Griselda with the pride 
and solicitude of tender and elderly parents. 

*' It will be an opening for him, I hope," said 
Mr Temple, whose beaming face was a con- 
trast to Mr Waters's sacerdotal countenance ; 
" and if he eschews parables and fairy tales, he 
may get some one to listen to his theories, per- 
haps. I am glad he is in harness at last, dear 
fellow : so far, he has been rather a disappoint- 
ment to us." 

" Indeed, Arthur, I don't agree with you," 
said Mrs Temple, earnestly, for her son had 
attained to that which is generally the summit 
of maternal ambition — a happy home. 

Philip is a grave, somewhat stcange man 
still, but he and his wife are unmistakably, 
if quietly, happy. If he will ever set the 
Thames on fire or not, remains to be seen. 



3l8 A DREAMER. 

His new career commends itself to his taste, 
I think, and there will be no need for his busy 
pen to fall into idleness. Perhaps some day 
Mr Temple will cease to be disappointed in 
his beloved Ugly Duckling. 

There is something in Philip's character 
and in the tone of his mind that has always 
attracted me ; there is something I love in his 
gentle, impulsive wife. Philip has built many 
houses on the sand ; I hope some of his brave 
projects have a surer foundation. I hope his 
happy home, gladdened by the sweet voices of 
wife and children, is no mere castle in the air, 
which will melt away from him all too soon. 
But it is seldom given to the same nian to 
dream and to realise also ; idealists and won- 
der-worshippers seldom find happiness for 
long upon earth. 

Walking along a steep and narrow path, if 
our eyes are fixed upon the heavens we are 
apt to stumble and fall : but the heavens are 
fairer than the thorns, and the blinding sand, 
and the slippery stones below us ; and cuts 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 319 

and bruises matter little if we catch but a 
few glimpses of the glorious light above, and 
hear but a few faint echoes of the undying 
music in the land beyond our view. 



THE END. 



PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS. 



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